Trump Wants the US to Keep Control of Internet Naming System

Posted by at 10:39 am on September 22, 2016

icann_logoLess than 10 days before the US relinquishes control of the Internet’s domain name system (DNS), Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has declared his opposition.

“Congress needs to act, or Internet freedom will be lost for good, since there will be no way to make it great again once it is lost,” Stephen Miller, national policy director for the Trump campaign, said in a statement.

According to Trump, the planned transition will “turn control of the Internet over to the United Nations and the international community.” That doesn’t sit well with Democratic lawmakers, who counter that “the US does not own the Internet. It never has. In fact, the transition protects the Internet from authoritarian control.

“As the election approaches, [Republicans’] claims are becoming more outlandish—the transfer would lead to a loss of free speech online (it won’t); it risks national security (it doesn’t); it is against federal law (it’s not),” Democratic Reps. Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Anna Eshoo (Calif.), Doris Matsui (Calif.), Chris Coons (Del.), and Frank Pallone (NJ) wrote in an op-ed published by TechCrunch.

If all goes according to plan, the US Commerce Department will give up oversight of the DNS and hand it over to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on Oct. 1.

The DNS converts alphabetic names into numeric IP addresses, so you can type URLs like “” or “” instead of a series of numbers and dots. Since 1998, the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has partnered with ICANN, a California nonprofit, to keep things running.

As NTIA chief Lawrence Strickland said last month, “NTIA’s current stewardship role was intended to be temporary.” Two years ago, the agency started the process of transferring control, which required ICANN to carry out a series of technical tasks. The plan had to have broad community support, and address specific principles, including a promise to maintain the openness of the Internet and the security of the DNS. It was approved last month and moves forward in just a few days.

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