You may have heard news this week that the U.S. is “relinquishing control” over the internet – more specifically, that the Obama administration has decided not to renew its contract overseeing the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. The decision has sparked a vocal backlash from conservatives. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich tweeted “Every American should worry about Obama giving up control of the internet to an undefined group. This is very, very, dangerous”. But let’s face it – most of us have no idea what ICANN does, or how this decision will or will not change the way the internet functions.
Rob Fleischman joined us to explain all things ICANN. He is chief technology officer at Xerocole, and our explainer of all things wired.
- For a good primer on the basics of ICANN, check out ICANN 101: Who Will Oversee the Internet from The Wall Street Journal.
- The decision to relinquish ICANN has prompted some pretty extreme reactions. There are some disturbingly xenophobic comments for this YouTube video of the President of ICANN reacting to the announcement that the Department of Commerce is relinquishing control.
- ICANN's website. Looks pretty harmless, right?
- Politico has been covering how the GOP is decrying the decision as “a threat to free speech”.