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Countdown to IANA Transition Is Not the Countdown to Doomsday

Michele Neylon

I've mentioned the IANA transition in several posts over the last year or so. Personally I'd love to not have to mention it ever again, as it's not the kind of topic that we should be spending too much time thinking about or worrying about. There are plenty of other things out there that cause us all headaches without adding to the list.

However the IANA transition is a topic that is of fundamental importance for the global internet community.

As a company we rely heavily on the internet, in fact we are pretty much 100% online. Sure, we have physical offices and staff and all that, but pretty much everything we do is online.

As a business our ability to serve our customers is predicated on our clients being able to have unfettered access to the global internet. Sure, there are limitations on some private networks and various government regimes around the world may place restrictions on what can and cannot be accessed at any given time. We may not like that, but part of freedom is that people are free to do lots of things, even things we don't really like. And the internet is built in such a way that most of those restrictions can be routed around either directly or indirectly, so the overall network's health is not adversely impacted.

The transition will result in the US government losing its special relationship with the IANA functions. That's all that will change and for the average internet user or business nothing will be impacted. The only "tangible" impact will be in how changes to the IANA functions are processed in the future. Which, again, has no impact on the average internet user.

Post-IANA transition no one government or subset of governments will have more power than anyone else. The internet has blossomed where governments have taken a "light touch". Where governments have been more "heavy handed" in their interactions the online world has not grown and flourished as quickly. It wouldn't be in anyone's interests to allow the very nature of the internet to be adversely changed.

Yet, unfortunately, some elements in the US government (and elsewhere) have been spreading lots of scary, but factually incorrect, stories about how the Obama administration is going to handover the internet to Russia and China. One has even setup a sort of "doomsday" countdown clock.

From our side we look forward to the IANA functions being transitioned to ICANN and the global internet community. We don't expect it to have any impact on our business nor that of our clients. However a failure to finalise the transition will definitely cause us all headaches, so let's just get it done once and for all!

By Michele Neylon, MD of Blacknight Solutions
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Related topics: ICANN, Internet Governance
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