On Saturday, the U.S. government plans to cede control of some of the internet’s core systems – namely, the directories that help web browsers and apps know where to find the latest weather, maps and Facebook musings.
The U.S. has been in charge of these systems for more than three decades; plans to transfer control of these functions to a nonprofit oversight organization have been in the works since the late 1990s. Some Republicans in Congress raised late objections over the transfer, which they termed a “giveaway” to the rest of the world. But they failed to block the move in a spending bill to keep the government operating.
Here’s a look at the systems in question and what’s at stake for internet users.