The context in which the Internet operates may dramatically change…or not.
Also read: This Conference Might Be the End of the Bitcoin Block Size Debate
The End of the ICANN Monopoly?
At issue is who or what will control the “non-profit” Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which assigns and coordinates unique identifiers, such as IP addresses, on a global basis to create a single connected Internet. It is “responsible for the global coordination of the DNS Root, IP addressing, and other Internet protocol resources.” ICANN does not directly control content (except through denial of applications) but it does regulate access and traffic. It is currently overseen by the an obscure agency in the U.S. Department of Commerce: the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
ICANN’s Internet monopoly comes from a contract with the U.S., through which it became an “instrumentality” of government and so is exempt from anti-trust laws.
The contract expires at midnight on September 30, and there appears to be no desire on the part of the Obama administration to extend it, meaning that ICANN could lose its prized anti-trust exemption unless it partners with another government or