Appendix D: Brief Analysis On Who Owns The Internet

ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, plays a pivotal role in the global management of the Internet's Domain Name System (DNS). Established in 1998, ICANN is responsible for coordinating the assignment of unique identifiers, ensuring a stable and secure internet operation. The DNS is fundamental to the internet's functionality, translating user-friendly domain names into IP addresses that navigate web traffic

ICANN oversees an extensive range of internet domain names, including thousands of top-level domains (TLDs). Its activities affect millions of domain names registered worldwide, influencing everything from business to personal online presence. The organization's reach and decisions have a significant impact on the structure and accessibility of the internet.

  • Monopoly Challenges

Critics argue that ICANN's control over the DNS and domain registration represents a form of monopoly, limiting competition and potentially stifling innovation within the domain name space. This centralization raises concerns about governance, transparency, and the potential for abuse of power.

  • Costs of Registering Domain Extensions

Registering a new Top-Level Domain (TLD) with ICANN includes a headline application fee of 185,000. Additionally, domain registries must pay ongoing fees to ICANN each quarter, including a fixed fee of 6,250 and a transaction fee of 0.25 per domain name registration, once a threshold of 50,000 transactions per quarter is met. This fee structure supports the management and operation of the global DNS infrastructure​​.

  • Critical Observations on Procedure Timeline and Complexity

The intentional complexity and lengthy procedures for registering TLDs are criticized for creating artificial scarcity, echoing strategies used in other industries to inflate value. This approach may benefit existing stakeholders but can hinder new entrants and innovation in the digital space.

  • National Security Dependency Critique

Countries' reliance on ICANN for national security infrastructure and digital governance raises concerns about sovereignty and security. In 2016, the Obama administration's decision to reduce US influence over ICANN, sparked by Snowden's disclosures, aimed to address global criticisms but has led to debates about internet freedom and the risks of authoritarian control. The complex governance and accountability mechanisms of ICANN, a private entity with significant power over the internet's infrastructure, underscore the challenges in ensuring an open, secure internet free from undue influence. The ongoing search for a governance model that maintains ICANN's independence and accountability reflects the delicate balance between national interests and global internet freedom​​..

The final conclusion we can draw from above is that if countries trust ICANN for critical internet infrastructure, they should be open to adopting blockchain technologies for national digital administration. This move could enhance security, efficiency, and resilience against digital threats, advocating for a strategic shift towards more decentralized and secure digital governance models.

Essentially, why would any nation willingly give away digital sovereignty to a private US-controlled entity, if not for reasons other than proper self-awareness?




Last updated