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US to Hand Over DNS Handling To ICANN

Can you believe it? ICANN, a not-for-profit group who have been working to look after the internet for over a decade, has beaten the US Government in a court ruling. But to general users of the internet, what exactly does this mean? What about for American users? What’s exactly the big deal about all of this? Well, let me start the article off rather softly by saying that it won’t affect you or I any time soon, but to those interested in the world of tech – it has some pretty interesting connotations. It also raises some rather intriguing questions…

If you’ve never heard of ICANN, they are the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. To a lot of people, that just sounds like gobbledegook and that’s fine – But basically, without these people, we would not be called geekoutsw.com. Instead, we’d be a series of numbers known as an IP address – and that’s how you would have to find us. You would enter the IP address of the website into the browser, instead of a more human readable address. Sure, there are a lot of domains and a lot of top-level domains associated with them, (more on that in a moment,) but it’s much easier than typing in a bunch of bizarre numbers.

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Now that the transfer of the Internet Associated Numbers Authority (IANA) has happened, the change for general internet users is not even minimal – It means basically nothing. If you like to read your favourite websites, then no worries – you can read to your hearts content. However, if you are thinking about making your own website, still not much is going to happen. You go to a provider, you register your domain name, they assign the IP address to it and hey presto! You have a shiny new domain name for your very own website called “thisistheabsolutecoolestwebsiteyoulleverreadinyourlife.org.uk“*. With that said, there are some changes in the way content is administrated. For your see, before this transfer took place on October 1st, the US Government ultimately was able to deal with content.

This is the first time a piece of technology has gone from government control to a not-for-profit, which is honestly not only an amazing achievement, but proof that after over a decade of being around, the ICANN have proven to be reliable. In a statement on ICANN’s website:

“This community validated the multistakeholder model of Internet governance. It has shown that a governance model defined by the inclusion of all voices, including business, academics, technical experts, civil society, governments and many others is the best way to assure that the Internet of tomorrow remains as free, open and accessible as the Internet of today.”

Ultimately, this year has been a mad one for politics. From the UK’s Brexit to the US’s presidential campaigns – We need to be sure that the internet can remain as free and as open as it has ever been. Not just for you and I, but for everyone in the world. The reason this is important is simple: If the US ran it and decided they didn’t like what people were putting up, they could turn on the internet. It’s not like it’s never been mentioned before. But what do you all make of this? Do you think this is a good sign that the US Government handed this over to an independent body such as ICANN, or do you think this is all political nonsense? As always, let us know what you think in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.

*PROTIP: This website doesn’t exist, so go and register it today!

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