Over the weekend, the United States government gave up control of the Internet to a non-profit organization, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). As CNET reports, an injunction effort was made by Republican Senator Ted Cruz and colleagues in protection of free speech on the digital platform. The handoff took place at midnight since plans were already set in motion when a federal judge denied the injunction request on Friday.

So what does the transfer of control of the internet mean since the net isn’t actually “controlled”? It means that the Internet’s DNS, which is an acronym for Domain Name System will be autonomously overseen by ICANN. DNS is the invisible translator that converts Web addresses typed into internet browsers into numerical computer language for net computer communication.

"This community validated the multi-stakeholder model of internet governance. It has shown that a governance model defined by the inclusion of all voices, including business, academics, technical experts, civil society, governments and many others is the best way to assure that the internet of tomorrow remains as free, open and accessible as the internet of today." ICANN Board Chair Stephen D. Crocker said in a statement.

Cruz, and others who oppose the transfer, claim that it could possibly result in authoritarian countries taking control of the internet to censor content worldwide . "Imagine an internet run like many Middle Eastern countries that punish what they deem to be blasphemy," Cruz said in opening remarks at a September hearing. "Or imagine an internet run like China or Russia that punish and incarcerate those who engage in political dissent," Cruz continued.

On the flip side, those who support the handoff of the internet argue that stopping the transfer may backfire and minimize the United States’ impact on the Web. "This transition was envisioned 18 years ago, yet it was the tireless work of the global internet community, which drafted the final proposal, that made this a reality,” Croker said about the exchange.