Feeds

US government steps back from internet control

But very slowly

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

As one expert, EC civil servant Patrick Vande Walle, has noted: "The DoC will be meeting ICANN staff, not the ICANN board. It is quite obvious it is easier for an American administration to put pressure on mostly American staff, rather than on a board made of mostly non-Americans."

US academic and internet governance expert Milton Mueller is equally damning: "The basic relationship between the US government and ICANN is fundamentally unchanged. ICANN still gets general policy guidance from the DoC, and still regularly reports to it."

Despite these words, however, there is a real sense within ICANN itself that the new contract represents a big chance and opportunity to finally become what its originators had envisaged.

ICANN CEO Paul Twomey said the deal was "a great achievement for the ICANN community. Our community is made up of very committed, highly skilled individuals most of whom are volunteers and take their responsibilities very seriously. This result is a tribute to their efforts".

More succinctly, he has argued that the DoC is now "walking the talk".

Likewise, ICANN corporate affairs head Paul Levins pointed out that commerce secretary John Kneuer said that the agreement was "putting ICANN on the path to autonomy". Levins sees the 18 month review as a real opportunity - if the ICANN community can come to agreement. That, he points out, is "the last hurdle".

The reality

Amid all the detail, claims, and small-print, however, it can be easy to lose the bigger picture. And that is: the US government has purposefully failed to offer anything but the wooliest assurance that it will step away from control of the internet.

Despite constant (and successful) efforts to paint the situation differently within its own borders, the reality is that the US government has faced a barrage of criticism from all sectors across the world for its continued control and occasional interference in the working of the internet's technical functions. Its response has been to give back the bare minimum it can get away with, with weak assurances that can be swiftly recalled at any point in the future with a simple speech by the commerce secretary.

Despite this, there are real signs that ICANN is making the most of its opportunity. The organisation recently published an independent report into one of its main decision-making constituents that was highly critical of the cliché that exists within it. It has also allowed its Ombudsman to start making public his reports to the board. It has embarked on a redesign of its website to make information more accessible. And board members themselves assure anyone that asks that they're are working toward a more open system.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.