Google Supports Controversial Obama Administration Plan To Cede Control of Internet

By Sowmya Venkataramani - 27 Sep '16 16:34PM

Google has expressed support for Obama administration's plan to hand over the control of Internet Assigned Names Authority (IANA) to an independent international governing authority.  

Currently Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) handles the function of managing millions of websites worldwide and unique IP address allocation through IANA.

A non-profit, the Los Angeles- based ICANN operates with a budget of $130 million and over 350 employees.  It is currently overseen by the U.S. Commerce Department. But the government's contract with the organization ends on Sept. 30 and the Obama administration is proposing to allow ICANN to become fully independent, freeing it from U.S. control.

Republican lawmakers have been highly critical of this plan with Sen. Ted Cruz issuing warnings that ICANN would censor the Internet and put foreign countries in charge. Supporters of the move have said that ICANN has a number of safeguards in place that would disallow governments from interfering.

Google along with other major Silicon Valley companies like Facebook, Twitter and Amazon, have previously signed a letter urging lawmakers to not block the proposal. But in a recent blogpost, Google has for the first time expressed its support individually.

The blogpost written by Kent Walker, Google's SVP and General Counsel has explained the rationale behind Google's support for an independent ICANN.

According to Walker, the transition would put the management of the Internet under the control of innovators and users, and ensure the freedom of internet. The second reason is that it would reduce the dependence on governments to control the development of Internet and finally, it would be honoring U.S. government's promise made two decades ago that the internet would be governed by everyone with a stake in its growth.

The U.S. government's contract with ICANN was meant to be temporary measure and Google believes that the internet community is now ready to handle the task on its own.

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