'It Works, Why Are We Fixing It?': U.S. Cedes Control of Internet Domains
Here's some background on the move from the Wall Street Journal:
The U.S. government plans to give up control over the body that manages Internet names and addresses, a move that could bring more international cooperation over management of the Web, but will make some U.S. businesses nervous.
The Commerce Department said Friday it plans to relinquish its oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or Icann, which manages a number of technical functions that serve as signposts to help computers locate the correct servers and websites.
The action is viewed as a response to increasing international concern about U.S. control over the Internet's structure, particularly in light of the recent disclosures about surveillance by the NSA and other U.S. intelligence agencies.
Other governments have complained that the department's contract with Icann gives the U.S. unique influence over the Web, which it could use for a wide variety of purposes. In response to those concerns, the Obama administration is convening a process to create a new oversight structure for Icann when the current contract runs out in September 2015.
Napolitano described the decision as "counterintuitive," explaining that usually the government seeks to expand its power, not give some of it up. The judge normally would be onboard with less government control over something, but in this case, he is concerned that this may lead to less freedom around the world because China and Russia will look to step in.
Napolitano pointed out that so far, the United States' private-public partnership that oversees domain names and Internet addresses has "worked very well."
"I would like to think this will be privately managed and if it becomes authoritarian somebody else will compete with it. And if you don't like the way it's being managed, you'll go to another server and another system. I'm not sure that that can happen without the United States in there as a buffer to China and Russia," he said, noting that this significant decision comes with the world's attention focused on Ukraine and the missing Malaysia Airlines plane.
Watch the interview above, and check back daily on Fox News Insider for all of Judge Nap's analysis!