World Wants Control of US Built Internet

    November 13, 2007

At the Internet Governance Forum in Brazil there is much discussion about the U.S. control over how Internet addresses are assigned and how people around the globe access email and Web sites.

"Without the participation and cooperation of all, the Internet cannot be sure nor stable," Brazil’s Minister of Science and Technology, Sergio Rezende, told the gathering’s opening session on Monday. "That’s why we defend Internet governance that is representative and balanced," he said. "We stand for a type of governance which is not the preserve of any particular country’s government."

The discussion focuses on the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a not -for profit- organization contracted to the Department Of Commerce. ICANN regulates and provides web domains and .org as well as assigning Internet protocol addresses.

Critics of ICANN say it is a U.S. entity. Paul Twomey, ICANN’s president said his organization was international with just 3 of its 15 board members coming from the United States. The new chairman is from New Zealand, and Twomey is from Australia.

Twomey said he believed the debate about U.S. control was driven by "high politics." "The discussion of the role of ICANN has gone on for some time, but there is no consensus for change," Twomey said. Twomey went on to say that the debate took focus off of more important issues like providing broader Internet access to the world’s poor. There are 5 billion people globally that do not have Internet access.

The forum plans to address other issues including network security, fighting child pornography, language diversity, privacy and human rights.