Great video explainer: Vint Cerf on ICANN and NTIA

The "father of the Internet" explains why the Congressional posturing and global freakout about the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration stepping back from management of the Internet domain name system is misplaced.

As Cerf tells it, the NTIA's role in ICANN (the body that oversees domains and IP addresses) was both an historical accident and largely ceremonial. What's more, the nominal US government role in Internet governance gives cover to efforts of less-democratic countries (especially Russia and China) who advocate for moving network governance to the ITU, an extremely corrupt UN agency that has a track record of advocating for building surveillance and censorship into the network layer.

While the US government has undertaken similar project overtly (through lawful interception rules like CALEA) and covertly (through the NSA), these projects have not been a part of its minimal network governance role, where US bureaucrats have had a good track record of doing pretty much nothing, with a vaguely benign flavor.

In short, getting the USG out of ICANN helps neutralize the argument to put the Internet under the ITU's thumb, and that's a net (heh) positive.

(via Techdirt)