Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/30/icann_us/

US cedes control of net governance

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By Christopher Williams

Posted in Broadband, 30th September 2009 15:54 GMT

After a long diplomatic wrangle, ICANN today won independence from the US government.

The expected announcement ends an era of US dominance of the DNS system. ICANN - a non-profit organisation - will now become "independent and not controlled by any one entity".

Ties to the Department of Commerce won't be completely severed under the agreement. It will have a seat on ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), which oversees policy making.

Today's move will delight the European Commission and others, however, who argued that the US' historic control of ICANN, and so internet governance, was unfair.

Telecoms Commissioner Vivian Reding said: "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."

The Commission also plans involvement in the GAC.

There has long been international disquiet over the influence of US politics on ICANN. The repeated refusal to sanction .xxx domains was seen as a concession to the religious right, for example.

Vint Cerf commented: "[The agreement] fulfils a long-standing objective of the original formation of Icann: to create an organisation that can serve the world's interest in a robust, reliable and interoperable internet."

There are more details of the proposed new structures and how to comment here. ®