back to article US govt: You, ICANN. YOU can run the internet. We quit

The US Department of Commerce is ready to leave the keys to the internet's worldwide DNS system in the hands of non-profit net overseer ICANN. The department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is charged with stewarding the administration of the internet and managing the authoritative root zone …


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  1. Chronos

    Oh gods!

    Now it's going to be run by committee with consultations and stakeholders. What could possibly go wrong?

    Beer. It'll help.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh gods!

      Every article mentioning US control of root servers until now: "Fucking American scum, think their laws apply everywhere and they can control the internet, miserable rat bastards will sell us out, etc etc..."

      (The US announces it won't control them anymore)

      "Goddamned shithead Americans abandoning their responsibility to a bunch of unaccountable bureaucrats, stupid fat Americans going to destroy the internet, etc etc..."

      Exaggerated for effect. But only slightly...

  2. Mark 85

    Oh the Humanity!!!

    There will be a bunch of bureaucrats loosing their jobs with the Federal Government... oh dear. Or will they be assimilated somewhere else?

    The real question is: "will this become like the UN?". Totally fragmented and constantly arguing over the trivial stuff like what kind of snacks to have a meeting?

    1. Number6

      Re: Oh the Humanity!!!

      That might be to our benefit. If the system isn't broken then either they argue about snacks or try to do something that will break it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        IT Angle

        Re: Oh the Humanity!!!

        Careful now, if they get frustrated over the choice in snacks, they may break it out of spite!!

        "Pretzels again!! I'm on a low-sodium diet!! This makes me soooo ANGRY that I almost want to press this shiny, red button on the console!!.......(computer voice) RANDOMIZED REASSIGNMENT OF GLOBAL IP ADDRESSES COMMENCED! HAVE A NICE DAY!!

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Oh the Humanity!!!

      Judging from recent history, more like a bunch of kleptocrats working out how they can further line their own pockets.

    3. Michael Habel

      Re: Oh the Humanity!!!

      As long as they actually never get get anything done while they bicker over their Snacks. Then I for One will breath a *Sigh* of relief!

  3. Kuddy

    What if ICANN goes renegade?

    Forgive my ignorance but what would happen if ICANN fell apart for whatever reason? If the root zone is uncontrolled by them or miscotrolled, where does the resilience lie?

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: What if ICANN goes renegade?

      That's the $64,000 question. We can only hope there's enough oversight built into ICANN to keep it steady.


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What if ICANN goes renegade?

      The ultimate control is still maintained by the operators of the root DNS servers, which are spread out all over the world. I imagine they'd have a conference call and get some short term and longer term plans figured out if ICANN went rogue.

      Worst case if there was a split in the root server operators (say between China and the west) you'd end up with two internets, but for most of us that sort of split would be pretty much invisible.

    3. Yes Me Silver badge

      Re: What if ICANN goes renegade?

      That's what the multistakeholder buzzlanguage is about - checks and balances on ICANN. Actually that's how it works today; NTIA has had almost no influence via its contract. The end of the contract is a Good Thing, especially given the widespread distrust of the US Government in recent months.


    4. Don Jefe

      Re: What if ICANN goes renegade?

      ICANN won't fall apart. There is a chance that they'll be torn apart by internal power struggles. Somebody there already has a plan to crown themselves King of the Internet, that's a certainty.

      There's also a fairly significant risk of another big government trying to fill the vacuum left by the US. All this is interesting and it deserves to be watched, but right now only watching is the best plan. See what happens and deal with the mess after the smoke clears.

      In the interests of full disclosure it should be noted that I'm from the US. As such, the license to point out huge gaping flaws in my government is renewed each year at tax time. In the very early days of the Internet nobody wanted anything to do with oversight of it. Nobody. It was discussed, globally, for years and while many governments saw the potential of the Internet, they were too risk averse to get involved. Even here in the US nobody wanted to screw with t because the investment required would be a vote losing issue if the whole thing flopped.

      Hell, even the Commere Department lobbied for the creation of a new agency to deal with it all. Time passed, and it became evident that this Internet thing was going to be around for a while and then everybody got interested. They spent more money lobbying for a seat at the table than they did on building out infrastructure to support the Internet in their own countries.

      The US stepped up and got it all working. They leaned on those who were hesitant (that includes the UK) got them moving, so they got to 'own' the Internet for a while. And there's nothing wrong with that (it was actually a pretty big step, seeing as how you couldn't explode anybody with the Internet, it's rather significant they even bothered to acknowledge it). But the patent protections expired a long time ago.

      The Internet (the WWW part anyway) is simply useless if it doesn't reflect the input of the entire world (that 1st W is important) and the US has seen its investment returned many times over. As a society, we in the US fucking suck at sustained growth/evolution. Others with better skills in that department are absolutely required 15 years ago.

      The biggest threat to the Internet has always been the failure of our political system to screen for insanity and drug abuse. There is a good size portion of our population who misinterprets 'world' as 'godless Mary worshiping jihadi homosexual Commies' and there's nothing to be done for it because we also let them have guns (Crazy or armed, take your pick, but it can't be both. Should be on the Selective Service form we (males) have to fill out when we turn 18). Anyway, one of those dipshits deciding to 'turn off' (by shooting I'm sure) the Internet was always a very real risk. If Bush MkII hadn't come along with his Jesus fueled fever dream of two decades of war somebody probably would have already tried to 'turn it off'. So yay war... I guess.

      ICANN can be dealt with, no matter what happens to them internally. Non-profit(ish) organizations don't really pose risk for any country where alcohol is available. So let them run with it, and we'll sort out what comes up. The US on the other hand, can't be dealt with. People bitch and moan about the US, but people from US tech companies, who I know personally, are in Brazil right now working with Brasilia to address their newly proposed 'privacy laws' and Merkel could actually give two shits for US spying, just don't embarrass her. That's the way things are, and how they're going to be for a long time to come.

      So I'm glad to see the US getting out of the way. Sooner would have been nicer, but now is better than never. Damage is minimal and certainly nothing that can't be fixed/mitigated. The lesson in all this should be that governments everywhere should be more aware of technology and the issues surrounding it. Be aware and ready to move when new opportunities present themselves. If you dick around and let us get control of it then it's entirely possible the person who kills it will be the offspring of the person who supported it to begin with.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What if ICANN goes renegade?

      "What if ICANN goes renegade?"

      Well, look around you: you can expect bogus top level domains with ill-conceived names to be created without any thought to the legal problems they will cause down the line (".london"? Which London?) simply in order to be auctioned off for big bucks for people who neither understand nor care about hierarchial composition of domain data nor the destabilising effects their actions will have on the Internet. After all, if they make a mess guess who's going to be paid to fix it? It's a job for life.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What if ICANN goes renegade?

        How is .london any worse than, and The new TLDs are stupid, but they aren't creating any new problems that didn't exist when there were only a few TLDs that any respectable organization was willing to use.

        1. Stephen W Harris

          Re: What if ICANN goes renegade?

          @Dougs, who asks "How is .london any worse than, and The new TLDs are stupid, but they aren't creating any new problems that didn't exist when there were only a few TLDs that any respectable organization was willing to use."

          Without an organisation controlling the global namespace you will get fragmentation. My .london may be different to your .london; goes to different places or doesn't go anywhere at all. You'll end up with handful of distinct and separate name spaces.

          At least, today, goes to the same place for everyone.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What if ICANN goes renegade?

            I didn't read your post to suggest there would be two .londons, but a comment on the stupidity of creating new TLDs in the first place. If the net splits, there may be two .londons and two cisco.coms. If there was some reason I'd want access to the "other" I'm sure someone would write a software layer to make it possible ( and

  4. akeane

    I'll host it for them if they like, I have an Intel Duo and can back up to a USB disk with a cron job every night :-)

    1. nematoad

      Yeah, cron, the saviour of the universe!

      1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

        Cron I have never used you before. I have no commands for it. No-one, not even you, will grep if we were good users or bad, why we hacked, or why we logged out. All that matters is that two sysadmins stood against the lusers, that's what's important. Consistency pleases you, cron, so grant me one request. Grant me file integrity! And if you do not listen, then to /dev/null with you!

  5. Banksy


    Didn't read the headline properly and though Carl Icahn wanted control of the Internet too.

  6. solo

    Managing names

    Is it me only perhaps who feels that the domain naming system is already broken.

    1. If you have a name registered for your company, you can force others with similar names to change it. ( to anyone?) So there goes millions of possible variable names in vein.

    2. Ironically, if a company doesn't (can't, financially 99% of all) fight to stop impersonating and fraud sites, the end user is cheated or receive inferior service.

    3. When a domain name is sold to another party, the confusion increases even more. I remember I had an email address at a decent site's domain "". Later it became what you can guess easily.

    So, what's the solution? If 12 digit phone numbers can be managed, will 16 digit site numbers help? At least that can be managed in more decenterelized manner.

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Re: Managing names

      1. The Skydrive case was a straightforward trademark dispute - nothing specifically to do with domain names. (Skydrive could have being at - Rupert would still have been upset.)

      2. Ditto. Companies need to protect their trademarks even if sometimes they do it badly.. (There's nothing ironic about competing interests - it's just how the world works.)

      3. Get your own domain name - they practically give them away these days.

      The domain name system is not without it's problems but it's nothing that can't be fixed.

      1. solo

        Re: Managing names

        "... The Skydrive case was a straightforward trademark dispute ..."

        Do you think "Skydrive" was owned by the competition? It was just about the word "Sky".

    2. Don Jefe

      Re: Managing names

      You sure as shit don't need an Internet to run into weirdness with unique names. That's why actors often have such stupid names.

      Same with dogs and horses (and companies obviously :). Many long times ago (pre Internet) I bought my first Thoroughbred racehorse and his name was rejected three times because that name had already been used, which was just nuts, the names were incredibly weird, but someone had beaten me years earlier? The fourth time it was rejected because they don't allow profanity and the fifth time because they don't allow you to use the names of any deities, even ancient Sumerian gods. I will never, ever believe those people had a guidebook to ancient gods laying around and since there was no Internet I want to know how they knew...

      At any rate, unique names are always going to be a challenge to manage. Names don't really matter anyway. What you do when acting as/in a name is what gives a name meaning. Not what you or the CEO or the marketing people want the name to mean, but what your customers/audience believe it means. Just pick something a go with it.

  7. Mage Silver badge


    For a horrible moment I thought Carl Icahn was getting it!

    1. Tom 35

      Re: Relief

      He wants to you to sell off 192.168.x.x and 10.10.x.x and give him all the money*.

      *if you don't he is going to tell his mommy.

  8. Michael Habel

    W(hy)TF did I read that as Ichan? And, why am I even more frightened?

  9. Bartholomew

    multi-roots ?

    One root can easily be replaced by several isolated intersecting/non-overlapping root's and this is at a guess why this change is happening. To try and prevent an EU root, an Asian root,. a .... If the US government is not seen to remove itself from the affairs of the Global Internet, then fragmentation will happen. I'm personally amazed that we have had one root DNS for so long.

    1. url

      Re: multi-roots ?

  10. StephenH

    Someone else for the movie industry to sue - if a German domain registrar can be held responsible for the content of websites, then it's just a few steps away

  11. Willybee

    "The move is part of a larger migration by the US government to remove itself from roles it assumed in the early days of the internet when a stable organization was needed to maintain the integrity of the net's underlying systems."

    The US government does not consider itself a stable organization either.

  12. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    All stakeholders deserve a voice

    I'm a stakeholder. So are you. And her. And him. Anyone who uses the internet is.

    Does this mean we all get an "equal" voice? No, thought not.

    1. Swarthy

      Re: All stakeholders deserve a voice

      Certainly. Some voices are just more equal than others.

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