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No Clues Yet on How US Might Hand over Control of Internet
Source: globaltimes.cn
Source Date: Thursday, March 27, 2014
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, Knowledge Management in Government, Citizen Engagement, Internet Governance
Country: United States
Created: Apr 01, 2014

A meeting to seek initial feedbacks on how the US government may hand over its stewardship of technical functions essential to the operation of the Internet domain system concluded on Thursday.

But there were still no clues as to the nature of the body to take over the stewardship from the US government.

The five-day meeting in Singapore, the first for the Internet community since the US government announced its intention to relinquish control of the Internet on March 14, is being convened by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Some ideas may emerge from a feedback document that is expected to be made public on April 7, said Kuek Yu-Chuang, vice president for Asia at ICANN.

Created in 1998, ICANN is a not-for-profit organization in the United States that has been overseeing the maintenance of Internet- related databases, especially those related to the domain systems, and ensuring the stable and secure operation of the Internet under a contract with the US Department of Commerce that expires in September 2015.

The US government's responsibilities to be handed over include the procedural role of administering changes to the domain name system's to the authoritative root zone file -- the database containing the lists of names and addresses of all top-level domains -- as well as serving as the historic steward of the unique identifiers registries for domain names, IP addresses, and protocol parameters.

The US government recently tasked ICANN with guiding the creation of a transition plan after it announced this month it will hand over the control of the Internet's technical operations to "multi-stakeholders" including IT professionals, businesses, governments, civil organizations and academia.

It has asked ICANN to convene the global community to develop the transition process from of the US stewardship to a global community consensus-driven mechanism, ICANN said.

However, there were no clues yet at the Singapore meeting on how the global stakeholder communities may be represented or the possible nature of the body to take over the stewardship.

ICANN said it has had a bottom-up multi-stakeholder model in its carrying out its role as a facilitator of Internet governance. The US government has recognized this as a mature model, ICANN said.

At present, the US government has control over the top level domain names such as .com, .net and .org.

However, it has said that it will not accept proposals to hand over its current stewardship over the technical operations to any other government or organizations representing a group of governments, including the United Nations.

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