The US government will relinquish control over the basic administration of the Internet, according to reports today.
Since the 1990s, fundamental control of the IP numbering network and DNS for the Internet has been run by organizations operating under a contract from the US government. First the DNS was run by Network Solutions, Inc., and from 1998 by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit California-based corporation created for the purpose.
ICANN operates under an agreement with the Department of Commerce. It is not clear whether ICANN's role will change or simply who they report to.
Other governments and international parties have complained about the US government's special position in Internet governance for many years, but the issue has gained extra currency in the wake of Edward Snowden's revelation of widespread Internet surveillance by the National Security Agency.
The Washington Post cites Lawrence Strickling, a top Commerce Department official, as saying that "...a new oversight body must be created and win the trust of crucial stakeholders around the world." The Commerce Department also ruled out the United Nations for that role.
ICANN already operates with a complex, multinational multi-stakeholder model for decision making.