E.U. Bureaucrat Proposes New Internet Governance Model

Ariana Rodriguez
STRASBOURG, France — A top E.U. technology officer is demanding that the U.S. Department of Commerce surrender its influence of ICANN when its operating agreement expires Sept. 30.

In an Internet video statement, E.U. Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding calls for a free-market approach to the Internet, saying 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 also proposed a new governance model for the Internet that would make the ICANN fully private and accompanied by a “G12 for Internet Governance” — an independent judicial body consisting of a multilateral forum for governments worldwide to discuss policies and security issues.

"I trust that President Obama will have the courage, the wisdom and the respect for the global nature of the Internet to pave the way in September for a new, more accountable,” more transparent, more democratic and more multilateral form of Internet governance," Reding said. "The time to act is now. And Europe will be ready to support President Obama in his efforts."

The G12 for Internet Governance, as outlined by Reding, would consist of an informal group of government representatives that would meet at least twice a year to vote on recommendations to ICANN regarding security and openness of the Internet when appropriate.

To be geographically balanced, Reding suggests the group be comprised of two representatives each from North America, South America, Europe and Africa, with three representatives from Asia and Australia.

On Wednesday, the European Commission will host a first public hearing in Brussels to allow Europe’s Internet community to voice their opinions about the future of Internet governance.

The European Commission participates in the Governmental Advisory Committee of ICANN to advise on public policy issues regarding its coordination activities.

ICANN is a nonprofit organization based in Marina del Rey, Calif., that influences the top-level and country-code domains of the Internet.