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:
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.
The Washington Post: US to Relinquish Remaining Control of the Internet
Forbes Magazine: US Government Cedes Control of the Internet