The not-for-profit organization which oversees the administration of the Internet, ICANN, has signed a momentous agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce that will reduce some of the country's say over how the network is run. This effectively pushes the California-based entity towards a new status as an international body, with greater representation from companies and governments around the globe.

Under the agreement, which enters into force today, expert panels will be created to conduct regular reviews of ICANN's work in several areas, including network security and stability; the evolution of generic domains such as .com and .net as well as domains based on non-Western characters; and the continuance of a public database of web site owners.

Although no immediate changes are expected the news has been well received by major players on the Internet. You can read more about the scope of this agreement here.