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Obama Giving Away the Internet - Huh?

Someone I know posted this on a social media site recently:

The Obama administration wants to hand over the Internet to the UN and the international community. You need to wake up to what’s going on…

This has been a talking point lately for some politicians. It should be obvious that it’s complete bullshit.

Obama is not “handing over the Internet.” What this is about is no longer having the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) (at the Department of Commerce) oversee the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) (administrator of the DNS servers that translate something like into something Internet protocol understands, like Obama had nothing to do with the original plan for transitioning ICANN to an independent organization. ICANN was supposed to become independent in 2000, and this plan was pushed back many times while everyone tussled over how this arrangement would work. As of 1-Oct-2016, it became independent. The major tech companies that have taken a position on this are all for it. There are some concerns about how this will work going forward, but the concerns are speculation at this point.

Note that ICANN has been managing DNS for eighteen years. NTIA opposed it in ONE case in all that time, when the .xxx top-level domain was proposed, and then let it go ahead anyway. In other words, ICANN had already been operating much like an independent organization.

The politicians and others spouting alarmist rhetoric about this apparently do not or deliberately choose to not understand how the Internet works (e.g. DNS administration will allow governments to censor the Internet – really?).

I think we should be more concerned with the Internet becoming a cesspool of misinformation and bile spewed by extremists on both sides… I wonder when that will start to happen.

Categories    Technology    Politics