Following the recent government seizure of over 80 websites, there was a certain amount of finger-pointing aimed at ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers - the nonprofit organization tasked with managing IP address spaces and managing top-level domains.
ICANN has just issued a statement, saying that it was not responsible for any part of the government actions. "As we have said many times, ICANN was not a party to those actions" by the U.S. Immigation and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), "nor was it a target of them."
According to Domain Incite, the requests to take down websites went through VeriSign, the company that operates the .com domain.
"ICANN does not take down domain names," the ICANN statement says, "we have no technical or legal authority to do that. We have no involvement in the takedown of any website, which is an issue of national authority. ICANN knew nothing about this enforcement action until after the fact. And with good reason, since we are not a law enforcement entity or an agent of the U.S. or any other government. ICANN is the non-profit coordinator of the Internet's global domain name system and is not involved in website content in any way."
While not an official agency, ICANN was created in part by a mandate from the U.S. government. As a result - and due to questions about transparency and accountability - some have viewed the organization's "neutrality" with skepticism.
ICANN's announcement comes the same day as an Obama Administration has promised more crackdowns on websites that violate copyright laws.