U.S. plans to relinquish federal control over Internet

BY Justin Scuiletti  March 14, 2014 at 6:12 PM EDT

The Washington Post reported Friday that the United States intends to give up federal government authority over the administration of the Internet.

The contract between the U.S. Commerce Department and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, expires in 2015. The partnership between the U.S. and ICANN, a non-profit group based in California that oversees distribution of Internet domains, has long been controversial due to concerns over ease of worldwide surveillance by the National Security Agency.

U.S. officials did not set a definitive timeline for the transition, though initial conditions were created as part of the switch-over. The creation of an oversight body that would “win the trust of crucial stakeholders around the world” would be one of the first steps, according to a Commerce Department official.