The U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s recent announcement of its intent to transition key Internet domain name functions to the global multi-stakeholder community is a significant and welcome development.
Unlike the other major international communications networks (e.g., the telephone system and postal systems), there has been no single government-led organization that has guided the evolution and growth of the Internet. Instead, “Internet governance” has been the responsibility of literally dozens of different organizations, involving academics, technologists, government and business working collaboratively to create and implement the key standards, shape business practices, and develop norms that have enabled the Internet to grow at an astonishing rate over the last 20 years. This model has served the world well and led to countless innovations that have transformed our world. Initiating the final steps in the transition of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions now is a clear recognition of the value and success of this unique model.
The IANA functions are critical to the operation of the Internet – and the Internet technical organizations have worked carefully and collaboratively to ensure that we can all rely on the Domain Name System (DNS). The U.S. government has had a stewardship role over the IANA functions since their inception and, as part of the group that began the transition process in 1997, I can personally attest that our goal since that time has been to fully transfer stewardship to the global multi-stakeholder community.
As a worldwide leader in providing devices, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential, Microsoft relies on the stability, resilience and security of the DNS system to enable our cloud services – and we are confident that now is the right time to complete this transition. It is the logical next step in the evolution of the greatest technological innovation of our time, and we look forward to participating in the process with ICANN, IETF, IAB, ISOC and all other stakeholders.
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