TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Government Keeps Control of ICANN

Government Keeps Control of ICANN

Reuters News Wire (
Fri, 29 Sep 2006 22:26:56 -0500

The U.S. Commerce Department said on Friday it would retain oversight
for three more years of the company that manages Internet domain
names, renewing an agreement that was scheduled to expire this

The government said it signed a new agreement with the Internet
Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which controls
addresses such as ".com" and country domain names such as ".cn" for

The U.S. government has previously said it plans to eventually turn
over complete control of ICANN, a nonprofit group, to the private
sector. The new agreement calls for a review in 2008 of ICANN's
progress toward becoming more accountable, the Commerce Department

"We are committed to working with ICANN to ensure that they have the
established transparency and accountability mechanisms necessary to be
a stable, lasting and independent institution," said John Kneur,
acting assistant secretary for communications.

The current three-year agreement between the U.S. government and ICANN
was scheduled to expire on September 30.

ICANN officials said they were pleased with the plan.

"This is a major step forward for the Internet community," said Paul
Levins, an ICANN vice president. "This is about the U.S. government
saying that ICANN should be very clearly put on a path toward

For example, under the new agreement, ICANN will no longer have to
file reports with the Commerce Department every six months, Levins

"We as an organization will no longer have our work prescribed by the
Department of Commerce," he said, adding it was a key step in weaning
ICANN from U.S. government oversight.

The Commerce Department said it consulted with more than 700
companies, trade groups, foreign governments and individuals before
deciding to renew the agreement.

Some critics say the U.S. government has too much control over ICANN,
which has evolved into a crucial engine for global commerce,
communications and culture.

The government posted its new three-year agreement on the Internet at

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

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