August 18, 2015 / 1:10 AM / 4 years ago

U.S. delays plans to cede oversight of Internet administrator to 2016

(Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Commerce on Monday said it would delay plans to give up oversight of a non-profit agency that manages the Internet’s infrastructure until September 2016.

The government body said it plans to renew its contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for one year.

Since 1998, the United States has contracted out, through the Commerce Department, the management of the master database for top-level domain names like .com and .net and their corresponding numeric addresses to ICANN.

The Commerce Department has long expected to phase out its oversight and initially planned to do it at the end of the current ICANN contract in September.

Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Lawrence Strickling wrote in a blog post that the Commerce Department reached its decision after the groups developing the transition documents said they would need at least until September 2016 to complete required processes and implement their proposals.

He said the department on Friday notified Congress that it plans to extend the contract with ICANN until Sept. 30, 2016.

“It has become increasingly apparent over the last few months that the community needs time to complete its work, have the plan reviewed by the U.S. government and then implement it if it is approved,” Strickling wrote.

Strickling also said there were options to extend the contract by up to three more years, if needed.

Some Republican lawmakers have raised concerns about the plan to hand over the stewardship of the ICANN to a global multi-stakeholder body, as they fear it may allow foreign governments that do not adhere to principles of free speech to influence the body.

Reporting by Ramkumar Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Alan Crosby

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