Hmm: U.S. quietly renews ICANN contract, retains oversight of Internet for another year

Hmm: U.S. quietly renews ICANN contract, retains oversight of Internet for another year

[Ed. – This is actually pretty big.  If there were signs that this was going to happen, they haven’t been been widely reported.  The relinquishment of U.S. oversight was supposed to be pretty well set for 30 September 2015.  More here than meets the eye, I suspect.]

The U.S. Commerce Department on Monday delayed for at least a year its plans to give up oversight of a key component of Internet governance.

The department said it would renew its contract with the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers for one year. Icann administers the Internet’s domain-name system, through contracts with the companies that sell website names and addresses. …

Last year, the Obama administration said it planned to transfer Icann oversight to an unspecified group of international stakeholders by September 2015.

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Critics of the plan have expressed concerns that it may open the door to influence by foreign governments that aren’t committed to Western principles of free expression, and may want to impose different rules for administering the Internet in different parts of the world.

“It has become increasingly apparent over the last few months that the community needs time to complete its work, have the plan reviewed by the U.S. government and then implement it if it is approved,” Assistant Commerce Secretary Lawrence Strickling wrote in a blog post.

Mr. Strickling wrote that the government plans to extend its contract with Icann for one year to Sept. 30 of 2016, with options to extend it another three years. Mr. Strickling said Commerce informed Congress of the plan on Friday.

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