NTIA resigns contract on domain names

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A nearly 20-year endeavor is coming to a close: The National Telecommunications and Information Administration will relinquish its control of the internet’s domain name system at the end of September.

Once NTIA’s function contract for the Internet Assigned Number Authority expires Oct. 1, most of the oversight on web names will officially move away from U.S. government control and toward the international private sector, NTIA Administrator Lawrence Strickling said in a blog post Tuesday.

In the past, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers was in charge of the coordinating the internet’s domain name system and IP addresses through the contract. Come October, various international internet technical groups will replace the government’s oversight. While NTIA has worked with these multistakeholders in the past, the expiration “represents the final step in the U.S. government’s long-standing commitment to privatize the Internet’s domain name system,” according to an NTIA post on the transition.

“This multistakeholder model is the key reason why the Internet has grown and thrived as a dynamic platform for innovation, economic growth and free expression,” Strickling, who is also the assistant secretary for communications and information, wrote in the blog post.

ICANN confirmed the expiration Friday in a letter, saying NTIA had completed or will complete all needed tasks for the transition.

NTIA has worked towards this day since March 2014, when it first initiated the final details of the transition. NTIA’s efforts even date back to 1998, when its contract with ICANN began.

[Read more: The U.S. still oversees the Internet’s domain names – for now]

During NTIA’s battle, Republican lawmakers have dissented to the transition, fearing it would create weak accountability standards and more chances to censor the internet. But the NTIA have repeatedly said average internet users will see no differences.

“The domain name system will continue to operate basically the same way it does today and users will not be affected,” the NTIA Q and A.

[Read more: Witnesses to Senate panel: Time is right to transfer ICANN control]

Contact the reporter on this story via email: Jeremy.Snow@FedScoop.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeremyM_Snow. Sign up for the Daily Scoop — all the federal IT news you need in your inbox every morning — here: fdscp.com/sign-me-on

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