Responding to growing international concerns over the U.S. government’s role in managing the structure of the Internet, the Department of Commerce (DOC) announced last Friday that it would launch a process to transfer oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to the global community. A non-profit corporation tasked with managing the international web domain name system (DNS), ICANN was contracted by the DOC in 1998 to operate the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) on behalf of the U.S. government. ICANN’s current agreement with the DOC is due to expire in September 2015. Larry Strickling, the administrator of the DOC’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, confirmed last Friday that his agency has asked ICANN to develop a plan for transitioning U.S. government oversight over ICANN’s IANA-related functions. ICANN is expected to initiate a public consultation on the transition process at a meeting to take place in Singapore next week. Stressing that the DOC’s role in overseeing IANA will not change until an acceptable transition plan is in place, Strickling told reporters that the transition plan must (1) “support and enhance the multi-stakeholder model” of web governance on which the Internet was built, (2) maintain the security and resiliency of DNS, (3) satisfy the needs and expectations of global customers and partners, and (4) “maintain the openness of the Internet.” Strickling further noted that the U.S. will not accept any oversight proposal that replaces the U.S. government with another government or governments. Declaring that the DOC has long been “committed to a transition that will allow the private sector to take leadership for DNS management,” ICANN Chairman Stephen Crocker said: “now it is up to our global stakeholder community to determine the best route to get us there.”