A division of the U.S. Commerce Department said on Friday it would give up control of the group that manages much of the architecture of the Internet, including the parceling out of domain names.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration said in a statement it would shift those tasks to "the global multi-stakeholder community."
NTIA's role includes administering changes to the database that contains the list of names and addresses of all so-called "top level" Internet domains, including the commonly used ".com," .edu," ".info," and others.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a nonprofit organization, will help launch a process to transition away from the current, U.S.-government-run Internet domain name system.
"The timing is right to start the transition process," said Lawrence Strickling, U.S. assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information. "We look forward to ICANN convening stakeholders across the global Internet community to craft an appropriate transition plan."
Fadi Chehade, ICANN's chief executive officer, said it would seek input from groups including representatives from governments, the private sector and "civil society" around the world to develop the plan.
"All stakeholders deserve a voice in the management and governance of this global resource as equal partners," Chehade said.
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