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US Government To Loosen Grip On Domain Name System

March 18, 2014

.au Domain Administration Ltd (auDA) has welcomed the US government's decision to relinquish some control over crucial Internet functions it performs to the global community.

The U.S. Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has asked the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to convene global stakeholders to come up with a proposal to transition the current role executed by the NTIA in the coordination of the Internet's domain name system (DNS). 

The Domain Name System is the Internet's address book, translating domain names into an IP address number set via DNS servers, or name servers. While it is located on millions of servers around the world, those servers refer to root servers periodically and when necessary for fresh records. The NTIA has been responsible for administering changes to the authoritative root zone file - the database containing the lists of names and addresses of all top-level domains; which is stored on all root servers.

The NTIA says it will not accept a proposal that replaces its role with a government-led or an inter-governmental organization solution. 

The auDA, manager of Australia's .AU  domain space, says it has been a supporter of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) since the auDA was established in 1999 and states ICANN is "ideally positioned" to assume responsibility for coordinating the transition process.

"NTIA's announcement is not a surprise, but rather a welcome conclusion to a transition process commenced by the U.S. Government in 1997", said auDA CEO and ICANN Board Director, Chris Disspain.

"Many of us have worked extremely hard over the last 15 years to develop an open, responsive and reliable governance environment. auDA looks forward to working with all stakeholders, including the Australian Government, to realise a model that will reflect the interests and needs of all Internet users, especially those in Australia".

Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull described the NTIA announcement a "momentous day in the history of the Internet" 

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