US Under Pressure Over ICANN

Internet policy experts press US government to 'internationalize' Internet administration

July 29, 2005

2 Min Read

WASHINGTON -- The United States must accept the need for change in Internet governance, a group of academic experts on Internet policy stated today. The U.S. should assert leadership by advancing new proposals for cooperating with other countries in the oversight and supervision of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and by supporting the development of a global framework treaty that will protect the Internet's unique freedoms while working jointly to resolve its problems.

"While we can justly claim that the U.S. 'invented' the Internet," Syracuse University professor Milton Mueller said, "with over a billion users now, US citizens are a small minority of the networked world. If the Internet's central coordination functions are seen as a U.S. strategic asset rather than as a neutral, globally-shared infrastructure, the risks of deliberate disruption and politicization of the Internet can only increase."

The comments, part of a statement developed by the Syracuse University-based Internet Governance Project (IGP), came during a symposium sponsored by the IGP and three other university programs to assess the final report of the U.N. Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG). The event, "Regime Change on the Internet? Internet Governance after WGIG," was the first public forum in the United States to review the U.N. Working Group's report. The report will become the basis of international negotiations at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva this September. WSIS negotiations will be concluded at a summit in Tunisia in November 2005. The U.S. State Department, which has issued a call for public comment on the report, was represented at the symposium by Richard Beaird, Senior Deputy U.S. Coordinator of its Communication and Information Policy section.

Much of the discussion centered on a June 30, 2005 U.S. Commerce Department statement claiming that the U.S. government will "continue to maintain" its unilateral authority over the Internet's domain name and addressing system. That statement disappointed many in the global Internet community, who believed that the World Summit on the Information Society provided an opportunity to negotiate more open, multilateral governance arrangements.

Markus Kummer, a Swiss diplomat who coordinated the WGIG, noted in his speech that the U.N. Working Group identified unilateral U.S. control of the DNS root as one of the most important public policy issues facing the Internet. The WGIG was composed by an internationally diverse group of 40 governmental representatives, business people, and public interest groups. Its report also called for the creation of a new "global forum" devoted to Internet issues where government, business, and civil society would have equal status.

Syracuse University Internet Governance Project

Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry.
Join 62,000+ members. Yes it's completely free.

You May Also Like