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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags ICANNinternet

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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 News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?