Skip to content

Who Controls the Internet?

March 18, 2014

Last week the United States announced it will hand over administration of the internet to business and international players in 2015, which may answer the long-asked question of, “Who runs the internet?”

(Check out this graphic by extremetech.com for more information on that)

Image

Currently, the US Commerce Department maintains the database for .com and .net names and their corresponding addresses, but they contract management of this system out to the non-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The US has faced pressure for many years by countries wanting more international control of the system.  Essentially, the US will be giving up control of the internet’s address book and moving it into the control of the already-existing ICANN.

What does this mean for internet users and the insurance industry? In the short term, probably not much. ICANN is already composed of multinational governments, corporations, and more and most people don’t think a new agency will take over next year. Some fear censorship of the internet down the road, especially in areas where governments have a history of censoring information. But by handing over control, no country would appear to have immediate access to monitor or “spy” on other countries.

A major concern for business is the belief that fake websites set up to look like true business sites are already rampant on the internet. Without the government holding ICANN in check, this may become even more of an issue. Safety and security concerns would obviously then be passed along to internet consumers. Others, including Verizon Wireless, believe that this is the next step in the growth and evolution of the internet’s governance.

Cybersecurity insurance has the potential to become a booming market for insurers, especially as uncertainty grows over how the transition will take place and what the future of the internet may hold. This coverage has been around for at least 5 years and tends to go unnoticed and underreported; companies don’t like to announce a security or data breach has occurred. A survey in 2012 indicates that as many as 65% of businesses do not carry coverage for cybersecurity. While handover of the internet to ICANN does not mean an immediate (or even future) increase in security threats or data breaches, it certainly never hurts to be covered if the possibility does arise.

For further reading, check out these articles!

International Business Times

Wall Street Journal Blog 

Washington Post

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: