The US government is relinquishing control over the Domain Naming System (DNS), which pairs website addresses with their relevant IP addresses – without the DNS you would only be able to access a website by typing its IP address. Nominet is the owner of the .uk registry and therefore looks after datanet.co.uk – (www.datanet.co.uk is paired with 220.127.116.11)
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit organisation, will be taking control of the DNS from 1st October 2016. Although the terms of the power shift were agreed back in 2014, it has taken 2 years for the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to finally sign off on the agreement. In reality, ICANN has been doing this job already for a substantial amount of years so despite its political ramifications, the shift will likely go unnoticed by everyday users and businesses.
What are the political ramifications?
The US government will no longer be able to intervene on matters concerning Internet naming and this shift of power could give other governments more influence. ICAAN will answer to a group of stakeholders including the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), which is composed of representatives of a large number of national governments from all over the world.