EU Commissioner Pushes For Independent ICANN

    May 4, 2009

In about five months’ time, the current agreement between ICANN and the U.S. government will expire.  At that point, Viviane Reding, the European Union’s Commissioner for Information Society and Media, is hoping ICANN will become a fully independent organization with a more international support network. 

Reding explained in a video message posted online, "[T]he US government is the only body exercising some oversight over ICANN.  I believe that the US, so far, [has] done this in a reasonable manner.  However, I also believe that the Clinton administration’s decision to progressively privatize the internet’s domain name and addressing system is the right one.  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."

Reding believes ICANN should be privatized, then, with a special emphasis on financial transparency.  She would also like to see ICANN’s decisions made subject to full judicial reviews (performed by international tribunals) upon affected parties’ request.  And last but not at all least, she envisions a "G12 for Internet Governance" meeting twice a year and making recommendations to ICANN.

Since Reding emphasizes that she’s generally happy with ICANN’s performance, it’s hard to speculate on how these changes might affect things going forward.

Still, it sounds like the EU is ready to put a little pressure on President Obama to help move the revision process along.