The Verge reports that the US has chosen not to sign a proposed international telecommunications treaty amid fears that it could lead to the regulation of the Internet. The countries involved — which include Russia, China and Saudi Arabia, have argued that the US has unfair control over ICANN. The proposed agreement would not take effect until 2015 but Terry Kramer, head of the US delegation to the conference sees it as “heading off a significant threat” to the open Internet.
ICANN stands for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, and with a name like that, you would have probably guessed by now that they manage a very crucial aspect of the Internet. Namely, coordination of IP addresses and the management of the top-level domain names. It would be safe to say that the Internet as you know it today, sort of relies on the work that they do. In relation to the US not signing the treaty, it stems from their belief that the ability to make quick decisions with regards to the proper maintenance of the Internet’s structure is made possible through the fact that it is being controlled by a single body.