| WASHINGTON, Sept 30
WASHINGTON, Sept 30 A long-planned transfer of
the internet's technical management from the U.S. government to
a global community of stakeholders is expected to take place on
Saturday despite last-minute attempts by conservative
politicians and officials to delay the changeover.
The U.S. Department of Commerce is due to cede stewardship
of ICANN, or the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and
Numbers, as scheduled after a lawsuit seeking to halt the
transition was denied by a federal judge in Texas on Friday.
The U.S. government has been the primary manager of the
internet's address book since 1988 largely because it was
invented in the country. Critics of the handover have attempted
to block or delay it on grounds it could jeopardize free speech
online, claims that the Obama administration and technology
companies have said lack merit.
The lawsuit filed on Wednesday against the federal
government by the Republican states of Arizona, Texas, Nevada
and Oklahoma argued the handover was unconstitutional and
required congressional approval.
ICANN, a California-based nonprofit, manages the database
for top-level domain names such as .com and .net and their
corresponding numeric addresses that allow computers to connect.
After the transfer, ICANN will be governed by a collection
of academics, technical experts, private industry and government
representatives, public interest advocates and individual users
around the world, in what it calls a "multi-stakeholder
Federal officials began discussing a plan to move ICANN
under international oversight in the 1990s, and rolled out a
formal plan in March 2014.
Conservatives in the U.S. Congress, led by Senator Ted Cruz
of Texas, sought to prevent the handover earlier in September by
attaching an amendment to an unrelated stop-gap funding bill for
the U.S. government.
Cruz called the transfer a "giveaway to Russia" and other
governments, but his effort failed to gain traction.
A delay would have backfired by undermining U.S. credibility
in international negotiations over internet standards and
security, the Obama administration and technical experts have
Asked whether the four states which had sued the
administration would appeal Friday's court ruling, Monica
Moazez, a spokeswoman for Nevada's attorney general, responded
in an email that they were weighing options.
The other states could not be immediately reached.
The transfer is "a symbolic, but important step in
preserving the stability and openness of the Internet, which
impacts free speech, our economy and our national security," Ed
Black, chief executive of the Computer & Communications Industry
Association, said in a statement.
(Reporting by Dustin Volz; Editing by Richard Chang)