In sudden announcement, US to give up control of DNS root zone

Editor’s Note:  For information about rightful federal control of ICANN and the Domain Name System, see the ICANNFocus archives here and, on CircleID, Why Does A Technical Manager Function As A Regulator?, ICANN Subject to the Data Quality Act, and the six-part series, ICANN and the Data Quality Act.

From: Ars Technica


In a historic decision on Friday, the United States has decided to give up control of the authoritative root zone file, which contains all names and addresses of all top-level domain names.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), under the United States Department of Commerce, has retained ultimate control of the domain name system (DNS) since transitioning it from a government project into private hands in 1997. With Commerce’s blessing, the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) acts as the primary essential governing body for Internet policy.

The new change is in advance of the upcoming ICANN meeting to be held in Brazil in April 2014. Brazil and other nations have fumed at revelations of American spying on its political leaders and corporations, which were first revealed in September 2013 as the result of documents distributed by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The South American country also threatened to build its “own cloud,” as a consequence of the NSA’s spying.

Commerce’s contract with ICANN to act as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority will expire on September 30, 2015—for now, ICANN’s role will not change.

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