U.S. Government Stepping Away from Internet Governance

The United States government will relinquish control of Internet governance, according to an announcement from U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) last week.

The NTIA formally announced its "intent" to hand control over to the wider net community and has asked Icann (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) to work on shifting control from the US government to an alternative body made up of private companies, government representatives, and rights groups.

In a statement assistant secretary of commerce Lawrence Strickling said the handover must "support and enhance the multistakeholder model" for the governing the Internet as well as maintain its openness.

Dr. Stephen Crocker, chairman of Icann's board, said the day the net would be free of US oversight had been "long envisioned".

"We have all long known the destination," he said in a statement. "Now it is up to our global stakeholder community to determine the best route to get us there."

He added that Icann has already issued invitations to governments, companies, net organizations and civil groups to help it work out how the transfer of power should be accomplished. This new governing body should be in place by September 2015 when its contract with the US government expires.

In February, the European Union commissioner who oversees telecommunications policy, said US oversight had to end.

In a more recent statement, European Union commissioner Neelie Kroes said that she welcomed the US decision to hand over control:

"The next two years will be critical in redrawing the map of internet governance – all those with an interest in preserving a trusted, free and open internet must act now."

Source: BBC

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