European Commission (EC) vice president, Neelie Kroes, said the Internet is a step closer to being truly global, after the U.S. announced it will cede control of web address allocation.
Kroes, who is responsible for the EC's Digital Agenda, said the U.S. decision clears the way for the development of global Internet governance, where multiple stakeholders can have their say. The move will also ensure the web remains open, and is managed in a transparent way, she said.
"It is a very timely announcement, ahead of an important multi-stakeholder conference in São Paulo on Internet governance principles and the future evolution of the governance ecosystem," Kroes said.
The vice president noted the decision is also "an historical step" towards EC goals for the Internet to be managed by multiple parties.
"The European Commission will work together with the U.S. and with all global stakeholders to implement the globalisation of the IANA functions in a process that is accountable and transparent, and in a manner that secures the open Internet and that will underpin human rights," Kroes pledged.
The U.S. government announced on Friday that it will relinquish control of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)--the part of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that allocates .com-style fixed and mobile web suffixes.
ICANN was contracted by the U.S. government to manage the allocation of web suffixes and domain names in 1998. The body is drawing up proposals for a new management set up ahead of the expiry of its contract in 2015, and is due to begin a consultation on the shift next week, Bloomberg reported.
The web management body states the transition of IANA functions "is now feasible due to the maturity of the Internet technical organizations involved in performing their respective roles related to IANA functions," and that ICANN "will facilitate a global, multi-stakeholder process to plan for the transition."
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