US to ease up on Internet control
Since its founding in 1998, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has been accountable only to the US government. All the agreements signed from that day to this (including the current one that expires on Thursday) maintained this status quo.
Since a great number of other countries disagree with this state of affairs, and since the European Union has voiced an entreaty to allow ICANN’s global accountability, it was just a matter of time when the US would be “forced” into loosening its hold on the corporation. Another good reason is that an overwhelming percentage of future Internet users is sure to come from outside the US – mainly from developing nations.
The new agreement between ICANN and the US government is scheduled to be signed on Wednesday. According to BBC News, an initial report (believed to be accurate) says that this agreement will not have an expiry date and it determines a list of groups and various foreign governments who will be authorized to evaluate ICANN’s activity on a regular basis.
Notwithstanding this globally welcome news, the corporation is still planning to keep a formal connection with the US government, and to do so indefinitely.