It sounds almost silly to say it, but the Internet is going global.
Of course, it's already global. But the underlying technology that makes the Internet run was developed by the Department of Defense 40 years ago, and the federal government continued to have an outsized voice in how the Internet was run.
Eleven years ago, as the Internet took off, the U.S. turned over some of its governance to an obscure nonprofit group, the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers. ICANN is based in Marina del Rey, where 70 of its 100 employees work, and oversees what its vice president, Paul Levins, called the "unique and highly technical addressing system" that enables people to surf among 183 million domain names.
The U.S. kept some authority over ICANN, including regular reviews, but the agreement between the U.S. and ICANN expired Wednesday.
The two entities have signed a new agreement that eliminates the U.S. reviews. ICANN now will be reviewed by a broader-based group of stakeholders from around the world.