The US Government has announced that it will cede control of the body that attributes internet domain names from this Autumn.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has been managing the task of assigning web addresses since 1998. Its role is to pair easy-to-remember web addresses with their relevant servers so they are easy to locate. Since its inception ICANN has been under the supervision of the US Department of Commerce.
In a letter last week, from Secretary of State for Commerce and Information Larry Strickling, the US government announced that the process of separating ICANN from government control has been completed and ICANN will be able to operate as a totally self-governed and independent body from next October.
The EBU, along with the UN and various governments throughout the world, has been campaigning for this change and for a global and shared governance of the Internet since the World Summit on the Information Society in 2003.
EBU Director General Ingrid Deltenre said: “The governance of the internet is too important a thing to be left solely in the hands of one country which is why we are delighted to see this announcement.”
Discussions will continue at the UN on how to govern the internet now it has become a global common infrastructure but this agreement at least means control is now in the hands of an independent non-profit organisation and not of only one State.