It didn't take long after NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden revealed his employer's nefarious deeds for other nations to begin reevaluating how they go about working with the US. As a side-effect, some now wonder if the US has a little too much influence on certain matters that affect the entire world, such as with the overseeing of the basic design of the Internet.
ICANN is the "Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers", and its responsibilities include assigning new top-level domains (.com, .eu, .co.uk, et cetera), managing DNS at its root, assigning IP addresses, and more. Simply put, ICANN has quite a bit of control over the Internet, and as the agency is based in the US and supposedly has little outside influence, some, such as the European Commission, are beginning to see that as a problem.
Europe must contribute to a credible way forward for global internet governance. Europe must play a strong role in defining what the net of the future looks like.
That quote comes from EU's telecoms commissioner Neelie Kroes, who goes on to suggest that a "multi-stakeholder" approach to policies would bode well for the Internet, and most importantly, not leave the bulk of the handling up to a country that not everyone would consider to be entirely trustworthy.
Countering those thoughts, ICANN has said that the agency already has a great amount of output from outside the US. "Governments already have a significant role within ICANN and it will be enhanced in the future. This internationalization was in train before Snowden."
In order for the EU to push to become more involved in ICANN's dealings (which would largely involve storing some of the data on European servers), the majority of representatives from EU countries will have to agree that it's worth pursuing. If that happens, we might just see other nations and countries increase their desire to become involved in the moderation of the underpinnings of our Internet, as well.
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