Europe Tells Obama To Give Up Internet, Preps Microsoft Hearing

imageThe US military and academia may have given the world the internet, but the European Commission’s media and telco commissioner Vivianne Reding has called on President Obama to hand over control of internet domain names and IP addresses to a proposed new international body. Control of the underlying network infrastructure was passed from the US government to California-based non-profit ICANN in 1998, but this term ends on September 30 and Reding wants a new system managed by a “G12 for Internet Governance”.

Reding in the release: “I trust that President Obama will have the courage, the wisdom and the respect for the global nature of the internet to pave the way in September for a new, more accountable, more transparent, more democratic and more multilateral form of internet governance … In the long run, 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.”

The commissioner’s proposed new agency would include two representatives each from North America, South America, Europe and Africa, three from Asia and Australia and the chair of ICANN itself, but as a non-voting member. And the commission will on Wednesday host a public hearing on internet governance in Brussels to take views on its proposals. Europe last called for internationalisation of ICANN in 2006.

Meanwhile, the commission’s antitrust department has tabled June 3 to 5 to hear Microsoft’s oral response the commission’s January “statement of objection”, in which it said the software giant is again breaking competition law by tying Internet Explorer to Windows. However, the company has said it has not yet decided whether it will go ahead with a hearing. More details at our sister site paidContent.org.

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