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An extraordinary statement by the US government has sent shockwaves around the internet world and thrown the future of the network into doubt.In a worrying U-turn, the US Department of Commerce (DoC) has made it clear it intends to retain control of the internet's root servers indefinitely. It was due to relinquish that control in September 2006, when its contract with overseeing body ICANN ended.The decision - something that people have long feared may happen - will not only make large parts of the world furious but also puts ICANN in a very difficult position. The organisation has slowly been expanding out of its California base in an effort to become an international body with overall responsibility for the internet.The US government is professing its full backing for ICANN (which it created) at the same time that it awards itself control of the net's foundations, which will have the inevitable effect of pulling the organisation back into the US.This is particularly relevant at the moment as a UN review of internet governance will report later this year and indications are that the team is considering handing over elements of internet control to a UN body, possibly the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).The decision is transparently a result of the culture permeating through Washington as a result of the Bush Administration's world philosophy. In an extraordinary presentation, assistant secretary at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Michael D. Gallagher, outlined new "US principles" regarding the internet.