22 April 2014
22 April 2014,
What is ICANN?

Many business owners do not understand how the US government “controls” the Internet now. So, they have a hard time caring about losing control.

I think this is an issue that could greatly affect every business—in fact, every Internet user across the globe. So, here is a short course on the subject:

The US government controls the Internet because a non-profit, independent contractor of our Federal government controls all of the domain names used across the globe. A domain name, of course, is a website’s home address. The domain name of this site, for example, is 1stClickConsulting.com. ICANN, that government contractor, contracts with domain registrars. In the US, Go Daddy is one of the best known.

ICANN and the certified registrars are tasked with making sure that the owner of a domain is registered and protected and that the web host’s server address of each website is recorded, so that when someone types a domain name into the address bar of a browser like Internet Explorer or FireFox, the right website is displayed.

I guess it is a little like a city planning department that prohibits developers from using the same street names and addresses that are already being used elsewhere in the city. If they did not do that, there would be great confusion when someone wanted to find your home. On the Internet, the effect would be worse—because a website must have a unique domain name in order for visitors to find it.

So, ICANN and the registrars have a very important role, and in the past, the force of international politics hasn’t had an influence. Many people believe that if the US gives up control of all of this, the Internet will cease to be free.

A free Internet means that:

    • The freedom of speech that we enjoy here in the US is extended to the whole world through the medium of the Internet. While some oppressive regimes have successfully interrupted web service, they have not been able to target individual websites that they do not like. With control of the Internet in other hands, that could no longer be guaranteed.


  • There is no charge to anyone for using the Internet. The Internet is literally free. You may buy a product or service online, but all proceeds go to the website’s owners. If an international organization becomes the keeper of the Internet, it could assess taxes and fees on both website owners and on their visitors. This would likely have a chilling effect on Internet commerce and on the many websites that are not intended to make money, but rather serve only as sources of information.


To learn more about this issue, below are links to what some leading news sources are saying. I would encourage you to contact your representative and senators in Washington, D.C. to express your opinion on this issue. ICANN’s existing contract expires in September 2015, and our lawmakers will need to act soon to have the voices of their constituents heard.

Time Magazine: Republicans Don’t Want America to Give Up Control of Web Addresses

The Washington Post: US to Relinquish Remaining Control of the Internet

Fox News: ICANN Debate: Team Obama Must Reverse Decision on Internet Control

Forbes Magazine: US Government Cedes Control of the Internet

PC World: US Plan to End ICANN Contract Puts Internet Freedom at Risk


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