Surveillance drives international Internet group to take control from U.S.

By George Chidi
Saturday, October 12, 2013 22:20 EDT
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Internet domains via Shutterstock / Oleksiy Mark
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The United States nominally controls the Internet, through the sponsorship of the Department of Commerce of ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, an international standards-setting body.

Well, ICANN is about through with them.

Earlier this week, leaders of organizations responsible for coordination of the global Internet technical infrastructure met in Montevideo, Uruguay and decided to hasten their planned withdrawal from the Commerce Department’s nominal oversight. In a statement, the group “expressed strong concern over the undermining of the trust and confidence of Internet users globally due to recent revelations of pervasive monitoring and surveillance.”

ICANNs members called for accelerating the globalization of its functions “towards an environment in which all stakeholders, including all governments, participate on an equal footing.”

Among its other duties, ICANN sets standards for how Internet traffic flows through international networks, how top-level domains like “.com” and “.org” work and how servers translate numerical designations for IP addresses into recognizable URLs like Google.com or RawStory.com. ICANN is ultimately responsible for keeping the international Internet from fracturing into smaller networks that cannot be reached outside each network.

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