US to relinquish responsibility for regulation of Internet domain name system

Posted On March 19, 2014
In Governance of Cyberspace / Reply

The US government has stated it will transition key Internet domain name functions to the “global multistakeholder community”.

In the historic announcement, the US Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has asked the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to “convene global stakeholders to develop a proposal” to take over the NTIA’s current responsibility for coordinating the Internet’s domain name system (DNS).

NTIA’s responsibility includes the procedural role of administering changes to the authoritative root zone file – the database containing the lists of names and addresses of all top-level domains.  NTIA currently contracts with ICANN to carry out these functions and has a Cooperative Agreement with Verisign under which it performs related root zone management functions.

Transitioning NTIA out of its role marks the final phase of the privatization of the DNS as outlined by the U.S. Government in 1997.

One of the few certainties about the future transition is that responsibility for the DNS will lie with the private sector. In an associated fact sheet, the NTIA states that it “will not accept a proposal that replaces the NTIA role with a government or an intergovernmental organization solution”.

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