The IANA stewardship transition is the final step in a nearly two-decades long process by the U.S. Department of Commerce to transition the coordination and management of the domain name system to the private sector. This transition process has been supported by all U.S. presidential administrations since 1998.
The transition isn't the U.S. Government handing over the Internet to any one country, company or group. The truth is that nobody, including the U.S. Government, has a "control of the Internet" to hand over. The community of stakeholders that has flawlessly coordinated the Internet's domain name and addressing systems since their inception will continue to do so.
When our values of freedom and democracy spread around the world and are shared by others, we are more secure at home and the world is more stable. We support this stewardship transition, as it will pave the way for American values and the free and open Internet around the world."Secretary Michael Chertoff and General James Cartwright
The Internet is a voluntary, trust-based system. A delay would introduce uncertainty, for both governments and businesses, which could have long-term social, cultural, political and economic impacts. It would also undermine the multistakeholder model of Internet governance that has been a foundation of the Internet's success.
Leading businesses have joined human and civil rights organizations in supporting the transition. Intel, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, HP, Dell, Cisco and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are among those expressing their support [PDF, 196 KB]. Civil society groups, including Freedom House, Human Rights Watch, Access Now, Article19, Centre for Democracy & Technology, Open Technology Institute, Public Knowledge and Ranking Digital Rights group have also expressed their support [PDF, 106 KB].
After the transition, Internet users will not notice any changes to their experience.
WHO SUPPORTS THE TRANSITION?
It's time to show that the Internet doesn't require government oversight. What it requires is operation by the private sector with all other entities."
The genius of the Internet is that nobody owns it. The underlying system looks more secure – and is probably best protected by ICANN's global alliance of geeks, rather than any government or agency."
There are real costs to further delaying the transition, primarily in the sphere of international diplomacy."