by Micah J. Fleck
Did you know that the U.S. has had exclusive oversight of the majority of URLs seen online? The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), an independent organization, was scooped up by the feds shortly after its inception in 1998 in order to oversee and control such major online domains as .info and .com (which ICANN has had the authority to arbitrarily raise prices on in the past). Now, the government is handing it over to the private sector, which many internet freedom advocates argue is a good thing for keeping the internet open.
However, certain politicians such as Ted Cruz argue that doing this could give other countries’ governments more power over censorship and propaganda. But experts say this fear is inapplicable since ICANN cannot regulate speech; only the woman names themselves.
In fact, as reported by Patch, there is actually a significant chance that the chances of foreign propaganda would be even less likely now that ICANN will not be affiliated with any government body at all and left in the private market:
Ed Black, President and CEO of the Computer and Communications Industry Association, wrote in an Op-Ed for the Huffington Post that the transition will make ICANN more transparent and directly accountable to Internet stakeholders. Black explains that restrictive regimes like Russia and China will have even less influence than they do today.