EU addresses possible ICANN privatization

Chicago (IL) – On September 30, the United States’ leadership of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), will expire. The European Union (EU) is calling for the United States to give up its authority and allow the rest of the world to particpate.
Established in 1998, to ensure that the Internet evolved on a solid and democratic base, ICANN has always worked under an agreement with the U.S. Department of commerce. ICANN is responsible for assigning Internet addresses that are utilized be over 1.5 billion Internet users globally.

Currently the United States is the only administration that has any control or authority within ICANN. EU commissioner Vivian Reding said that “at the moment, the US government is the only body exercising some oversight over ICANN” and added that she believes that “the U.S., so far, has done this in a reasonable manner.” Reding hopes that the Obama administration will continue with the plan of the Clinton to privatize the organization.

“I trust that President Obama will have the courage, the wisdom and the respect for the global nature of the Internet to pave the way in September for a new, more accountable, more transparent, more democratic and more multilateral form of Internet governance,” Reding wrote on her Web site.

Reding wants ICANN to operate transparently and with accountability so that judicial review could be conducted via an international tribunal that would replace the courts in California as far as who has jurisdiction over the organization. Reding called for a forum that allows all governments to discuss how the Internet is governed, as it is her opinion that the United Nations cannot move quickly enough on pressing issues and security matters.

The EU will hold a public hearing regarding Internet governance tomorrow.