The U.S. government is preparing to transfer the oversight it has had over the Internet—oversight that has helped keep the Internet open and free. Heritage’s Amy Payne explains what’s going on:

If you’re following the debate, the acronym you need to know is ICANN. That stands for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a nonprofit that manages Internet domain names (website addresses). It has been under the supervision of the U.S. Department of Commerce, but now the Obama administration has begun the process of transferring ICANN into the international arena.

Some countries, like Russia and China, are eager for the United Nations to take over the oversight role. That’s because they favor censorship and other limitations on online speech and commerce.

Heritage legal expert Paul Rosenzweig said in testimony before a House committee last week that lawmakers should be cautious “lest the transition destroy the openness and freedom of the network.”

Watch this video from the Foundry for a primer on the topic:

Do you think the “international community” should play a role in overseeing the Internet?

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