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article imageICANN has spent $7M trying to get control of DNS from U.S. gov

By James Walker     May 2, 2015 in Internet
Domain directory manager ICANN is reported to have spent nearly $7 million trying to gain complete control of the global DNS registries from the U.S. government in a bid to dominate how web address are allocated online.
ICANN has been blasted from all sides for the move, accused of wasting money and becoming distracted from its main task of keeping track of who holds each domain name.
Now ICANN wants to gain control of the global DNS registries currently held by the U.S. government. This has led to claims that ICANN is neglecting its core duties.
This was expressed in a letter to the White House from Daniel Marti of the Senate's Judiciary Committee earlier this month. The Register reports it reads: "There are longstanding concerns within both the business community and the Congress regarding ICANN's transparency and accountability mechanisms with respect to its existing functions and responsibilities."
DNS records keep track of which web server each domain name on the Internet should point to. They also allow websites to view which country a visitor originates from. This feature can be bypassed by using services like DNS proxies but you can see it in action on sites like Netflix where some content is only shown to visitors from select countries.
By taking control of the global DNS records, ICANN would be even more powerful in its allocation of generic top-level domains (gTLDs). The Register reports that ICANN has begun to consider the sale of several gTLDs to private registrars, including country codes and names and valuable site descriptors such as ".blog." This has been a cause of concern to some.
Buying a gTLD would enable a business to potentially dominate its sector online. For example, it is clear to see how services like WordPress or Google Blogspot would benefit from having exclusive access to the ".blog" domain.
ICANN is still pursuing its expensive, wasteful efforts to gain control of the IANA DNS technical contract. The cost has been moderated only by the board itself with no external intervention which has led critics to subject ICANN to intense fire over the spending.
ICANN is going through a crucial phase right now. As new gTLDs make their way to the internet this summer, the organisation must be careful to ensure that private entities are not allowed to dominate the rollout. As it attracts scrutiny from all angles for its excessive spending in its bid to gain control of the global DNS contract from the US government, ICANN must tread carefully in its role as the guardian of domain names.
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