The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers governs the world of 1.5 billion Internet users under an agreement, which expires on Sep 30, with the United States Commerce Department. The European Commission wants the agreement for US government oversight of ICANN dissolved, replaced by an independent judicial body described as a "G12 for Internet governance." The issue could result in a showdown between the European Union and the United States.
On May 4, European Union Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding called on US President Barack Obama to fully privatize ICANN and set up what is described as a multilateral forum for governments to discuss general internet governance policy and security issues. The position on global internet governance of the new President Barak Obama administration is not yet clear. However, during the George W. Bush administration, Washington was steadfastly opposed to handing ICANN over to international oversight. The "G12" would meet twice a year and makes recommendations by majority vote to the newly privatized ICANN. The forum would be restricted to representatives from 12 countries, with regional balance taken into consideration. ICANN, a private, not-for profit corporation based in California currently makes the rules and decisions on key internet governance issues, such as the creation of top level domains (such as .com and .eu) and management of the internet address system that ensures computers can connect to each other. May/09
Date written/update: 2009-09-30