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US ready to cede control of internet naming system

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By John Glenday, Reporter

August 18, 2016 | 2 min read

The United States has conceded for the first time that it is willing to cede control of the internet’s Domain Naming System (DNS), drawing its 20 year period of control of the body to a close.

The DNS plays a critical part in the functioning of the web by connecting text-based web addresses with an underlying numerical code, known as an IP address, to ensure efficient online navigation.

By historical accident the US has served as the ultimate arbiter of this process but in a bid to democratise oversight government involvement will be relinquished in favour of bolstering the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit body.

A formal handover of DNS control will take place on 1 October all the American patriots can rest easy that control won’t be travelling overseas, with ICANN’s head office remaining in Los Angeles.

This hasn’t assuaged some critics however with some warning that the measure may expose internet users to greater exposure to nefarious influences from the likes of China and Russia.

Under the new system ICANN will be obliged to listen to the opinions of individual stakeholders in the internet including nation states, businesses and groups with technical expertise.

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