Control of the Internet

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is the American manager of Internet domains and Domain Name Service under contract to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, the globally agreed agency responsible for the global Internet. It had been about to sell the Internet domain .org to a private enterprise.

The .org registry is a database of more than ten million websites managed since 2003 by the nonprofit Internet Society. The group decided .org could be better served by a company that could invest returns back into the service.

The sale would have been for $1.1 billion, which ICANN could have put to good use, too.

No more.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra instructed ICANN just two and a half weeks ago that it “must” refuse the sale. ICANN’s acceptance of Bacerra’s diktat was prompt.

As the WSJ put it,

Some readers may remember when Senator Ted Cruz [R, TX] in 2016 warned that ICANN would come under the influence of authoritarian countries once it became independent of the US government.

With its abject surrender, ICANN has placed itself under the influence of [the] authoritarian California Attorney General. The authority consciously ceded to this far left Attorney General sends an ugly message to other companies headquartered, or otherwise operating, in California. Look for further bullying of those companies whose business imperatives clash with Bacerra’s whims. Such businesses might want to think again about their locations.

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