The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the governing agency for management of the internet’s DNS, has become a much more globally integrated organization as its relationship with the US government loosens.
Following the end of an 11 year agreement, ICANN will now enjoy significantly less oversight from the US government. The two entities have signed a new agreement that eliminates US government reviews which will be replaced by reviews from a broader-based group of stakeholders from around the world.
A new deal signed this week with the US Department of Commerce will create international panels to review the work of ICANN in key areas, which was designed to bring greater accountability to the body.
The review panels will include representatives of governments other than the US, a reform that was brought on by agitation from international groups concerned over the US’s control over the independent organization. The US will remain on ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee.
ICANN chief executive Rod Beckstrom said the agreement represents "an exciting new stage in ICANN's development as a truly international entity."
He added “all the reporting is to the world; that's the real change."
European Commissioner for Information Society and Media Viviane Reding, who has called for ICANN to become "fully independent," welcomed the new agreement.
"Internet users worldwide can now anticipate that ICANN's decisions on domain names and addresses will be more independent and more accountable, taking into account everyone's interests," she said in a statement.
The European Union welcomed what it called "a significant positive move towards a new and more open 'working environment' for ICANN."