EU backs ICANN independence

The European Commission welcomed US government moves to make the company that manages Internet domain names independent by 2009, but said it would monitor the process carefully, a Reuters report said.


The Reuters report said the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which controls addresses including '.com' and country domain names such as '.cn' for China, now reports to the US Commerce Department.


The Reuters report said the Commerce Department would retain oversight for three more years, renewing an agreement that was scheduled to expire last weekend.


But a lighter regime was introduced, with ICANN no longer having to file reports with the Commerce Department every six months or having its work prescribed for it, the European Commission said.


'A new and final chapter opened this weekend. We welcome that ICANN will be set free in a process over the next three years,' Commission spokesman Martin Selmayr, was quoted as saying.


The Commission criticized ICANN's decision this year to reject a new .xxx Internet domain for pornography sites, saying that was US political interference in the Web's governance, the Reuters report said.


The US has fought off attempts to wrest control of the domain-name system from the Commerce Department, the report said.


US control of ICANN had become a sticking point for countries such as Iran and Brazil, which argued it should be managed by the United Nations or another global body, the report said.