Debate Continues on ICANN Internet Governance Role

LUXEMBOURG CITY — During a four-day conference in this country wedged between France, Germany and the Netherlands, government representatives debated with Internet stakeholders and a slew of lawyers to decide governance of the Internet, especially ICANN’s role.

Representatives from Brazil, major supplier of the world’s transvestite porn, and Denmark, which is one of the few countries that doesn’t prohibit bestiality, were angered about ICANN’s seemingly unilateral adoption of the .XXX sponsored top-level domain.

“You have made this and many decisions without consulting countries that will be affected by it,” a member of the Danish contingent said at Tuesday’s meeting.

ICANN, which is overseen by and operates under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce, has often been criticized for its reluctance to be forthcoming about its policies. But the organization this week adopted “transparency” measures that included allowing minutes of Board meetings to be published.

The Working Group on Internet Governance [WGIG] released several recommendations to democratize control of the Internet. It included taking ICANN oversight away from Commerce and replacing it with a General Internet Council comprised of members of the private and government sectors.

"Internet governance is the development and application by governments, the private sector and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programs that shape the evolution and use of the Internet,” WGIG’s report recommended.

Final reports from the Luxembourg conference will be released next week. As the United States has expressed reluctance to let control of the Internet go, WGIG’s recommendations seem a likely alternative to exporting Internet oversight to a United Nations body, as has been the rumor in recent weeks.