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New concerns loom over internet's future [Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)]
[March 15, 2014]

New concerns loom over internet's future [Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)]

(Gulf News (United Arab Emirates) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The internet is again heading for uncharted waters, and this time the seas are looking rough. The US government has announced that it will give up control of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit organisation that controls how internet addresses are named. The move comes just two years after the US blocked a move to allow the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a United Nations affiliate that oversees global telephone traffic, to take control of ICANN.

A transition away from US control is inevitable, as the argument that the US will prevent censorship and other security issues loses all its credibility following the on-going revelations by former NSA consultant Eric Snowden. While this news may seem overtly technical to some, it has many people, especially those involved in business, worried. Companies have invested billions of dollars in doing business on the internet, and there is concern that when a new boss comes to town it could have an adverse effect on revenues. E-commerce alone surpassed $1 trillion (Dh3.67 trillion) in 2013. ICANN has promised that a transition will not the affect the average user, but it needs to go beyond that. While a move to a new organisation is likely to give a voice to more people on how sites are named on the internet, change should not happen just for the sake of change. The process needs to ensure stability for those already involved.

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