ICANN transition moves forward, despite last-minute attempt to block it

The legal fight over the transition away from US oversight may not be over, however

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the long-time coordinator of the internet's Domain Name System, is independent of U.S. government oversight, at least for now.

The U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration's planned turnover of ICANN oversight to the wider internet community happened early Saturday morning, despite a last-ditch lawsuit filed by four state attorneys general attempting to block the move.

Late Friday, a judge in Texas refused to issue an injunction that would have forced the NTIA to retain its oversight of ICANN's coordination of the Domain Name System root and IP addressing functions.

The legal fight may not be over, though. The judge's ruling does not "resolve the underlying legal questions raised by the states," wrote Berin Szóka, president of TechFreedom, a free-market think tank opposing the move. "Nor does it mean the transition is a done deal."

A court could still rule that the NTIA did not have the authority to "relinquish its responsibilities" and could order ICANN and NTIA to negotiate a new contract, he added.

The four states aren't likely to give up their case, and other parties could join the fight, he said. "And even if this lawsuit fizzles, some other plaintiff could raise the issue in the future," he wrote. "This issue could cast a long shadow over ICANN for years until a court finally rules on the merits."

Several tech trade groups have pushed for the transition to move forward. The Internet Association praised the transition, saying the move gives oversight to a wider community "with strong accountability measures and controls."

The transition is "good for U.S. national security, the economy, and for the future of the internet," the trade group said in a press release. Supporters of the transition have argued that continued oversight of ICANN has prompted other countries to complain about outsized U.S. control over internet functions and to push for international control.

The long-time policy of the U.S. government has been to eventually end its oversight of ICANN. But some Republicans, led by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, have protested the decision to end ICANN oversight by President Barack Obama's administration. Cruz has suggested that the transition amounts to the U.S. giving away the internet, although ICANN's authority is limited to administering the DNS.

Cruz and other critics have suggested that a lack of U.S. oversight would allow repressive regimes to more easily censor the internet, although neither ICANN nor the U.S. government can control how other countries block content within their borders.

Some conservatives fear the lack of U.S. government oversight will embolden other countries or international bodies to attempt to take control of ICANN. The ICANN community has put together a transition plan designed to prevent that from happening, but those questions remain.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags internetICANN

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Cate Bacon

Aruba Instant On AP11D

The strength of the Aruba Instant On AP11D is that the design and feature set support the modern, flexible, and mobile way of working.

Dr Prabigya Shiwakoti

Aruba Instant On AP11D

Aruba backs the AP11D up with a two-year warranty and 24/7 phone support.

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?