The US has officially ceded control over the internet Domain Name System, or DNS. DNS, a key protocol used for routing modern internet traffic, is controlled by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. Since 1998, ICANN has been under contract with the US government to administer the DNS protocol. That contract expired Saturday, after a last-minute effort by conservative lawmakers, detailed by USA Today, failed to block the bill.
The transfer of authority worried some within the US, especially former presidential candidate Ted Cruz. The Texas senator placed himself firmly in opposition to the handover, CNET reports. Cruz invited lawmakers to "Imagine an internet run like many Middle Eastern countries that punish what they deem to be blasphemy." ICANN, for its part, was quick to clarify its role is technical, and the organization takes no part in moderating content. In a statement, ICANN said the transfer of governance had been planned for 18 years, since the beginning of the organization's contract with the US government.