The U.S Department of Commerce must love the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, because it is setting it free. ICANN is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that manages Internet domain names, and thus wields tremendous power.
European Commission spokesperson Martin Selmayr said the Commerce Department had given "clear indications that this three-year agreement between ICANN and the U.S. government would be the last."
"This is good news. Last year there were doubts about whether the U.S. would privatize ICANN," Selmayr said.
The agreement ends in 2009 at which point ICANN will default into independence, but if Commerce decides the Internet is ready to leave the nest sooner, it could be done in about 18 months. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the deal is that ICANN will immediately begin to deliver a State of the Internet report online in a publically accessible form, instead of its current twice-yearly closed reports to the Commerce Department.
More on ICANN here.