By Glenn Chapman1
San Francisco (AFP) – The head of the nonprofit group that oversees the world’s Internet addresses expressed confidence Thursday that it would be privatized and out of US government control by year’s end.
Fadi Chehade’s comments came despite criticism in the US Congress, where some lawmakers have resisted the plan to end Washington’s key management role in the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
Chehade said all the necessary components for a new stewardship scheme are accounted for and there will be “major legitimizing endorsements” from several countries in coming weeks.
“It is now up to the community to wrap them up, put them in a nice little box with a bow and ship them to Washington,” Chehade said, of the pieces of a plan to supplant a contract ICANN has with the US Department of Commerce.
The comments come a year after the US government said it would end its technical oversight role for the Internet domain system, with the stipulation that it be managed without direct control by governments or intergovernmental bodies like the United Nations.
The US plan seeks to turn over this function to what Chehade calls a “global multistakeholder community.”
Chehade said a growing number of countries, including China and Brazil, have voiced support for this new system.
“When we started we heard things like the UN would take over or China will fragment the Internet. Everyone was in threat and defense mode,” he said.
ICANN is in charge of assigning Internet domain names and the numbering codes that lie behind online …
“Now that China has come to the table, and Brazil has done the same, government after government is showing support.”
Chehade said some 150 countries now support the shift of ICANN oversight away from the US government to a globally representative group of governments, civil society and businesses.