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5/4/2009
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Eurocrat Wants U.S. Out Of ICANN

EU information society commissioner calls for G12-style Internet governance.

EU Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding wants the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to run independently of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Reding said in her weekly address Sunday that the not-for-profit organization should be run democratically. Currently ICANN operates under an agreement with the Commerce Department, and the United States is the only government with oversight of ICANN, which assigns Internet addresses used by more than 1.5 billion Internet users around the world.

"I believe that the U.S., so far, has done this in a reasonable manner," she said. "However, I also believe that the Clinton administration's decision to progressively privatize the Internet's domain name and addressing system is the right one. In the long run, it is not defendable that the government department of only one country has oversight of an Internet function which is used by hundreds of millions of people in countries all over the world."

Reding said that she hopes President Obama will continue the Clinton administration's plan to privatize the organization and said the "moment of truth" will arrive Sept. 30, when ICANN's agreement with the United States expires.

Reding wants ICANN to operate with transparency and accountability, allowing judicial review by an international tribunal that would replace the California courts in terms of who has jurisdiction over the organization.

Finally, Reding called for a forum in which governments can discuss Internet governance policy issues. She said that the United Nations does not have the ability to move swiftly enough on security and other pressing issues and urged the creation of a G12-style group of government representatives.

The European Commission will hold a public hearing Wednesday on Internet governance.


InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis on government IT priorities. Download the report here (registration required).

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