EU calls on US to let go of ICANN

Europe's telecom commissioner has called on the US government to allow ICANN to become a fully independent, international body.

ICANN, the body which assigns domain names, was set up in 1998 as a non-profit organization, operating under the purview of the US Department of Commerce.

EU telecom commissioner Viviane Reding has called on the government to fully privatize ICANN once its operating agreement with the US government expires in September.

“It is not defendable that the government department of only one country has oversight of an internet function which is used by hundreds of millions of people in countries all over the world,” Reding said

The contract expiry “opens the door for the full privatization of ICANN, and... raises the question of to whom ICANN should be accountable as from 1 October,” Reding said.

Reding has proposed the formation of a “G-12 for Internet Governance” - a multinational panel which would make regular recommendations to ICANN and hold the body accountable for its decisions.

The panel would consist of three members from Asia and Australia, as well as two each from North America, Europe and Africa.

Reding has also said that ICANN should allow any parties which have been affected by its decisions to have a right to request judicial review from a small, independent international tribunal.

The European Commission will hold a public hearing today to give the internet community a chance to express their views, Reding said.