According to The Register, the U.S. government is set to cede control of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) this week when its pact with the Internet governing body expires.
The Joint Project Agreement (JPA), which currently governs some of the government's relationship with ICANN, is due to expire at the end of the month. The new "affirmation of commitments" is due to go into effect the day before the JPA expires.
According to the Economist:
[The agreement] gives ICANN the autonomy to manage its own affairs. Whereas prior agreements had to be renewed every few years, the new one has no fixed term.
The agreement sets up oversight panels that include representatives of foreign governments to conduct regular reviews of ICANN's work in four areas: competition among generic domains (such as .com and .net), the handling of data on registrants, the security of the network and transparency, accountability and the public interest-the only panel on which America will retain a permanent seat. But there are no penalties if ICANN fails to heed its new overseers short of a termination of the accord.