The European Union (EU) on Monday called on the U.S. government to privatize the global Internet governance body and make it transparent and accountable.
Key decisions related to Internet governance, such as assignment of top-level domains and management of the Internet's core directory, are currently made by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a private, not-for-profit corporation established in California in 1998.
So far, ICANN has been operating under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce. However, this agreement expires on Sept. 30 this year.
In a video posted on her website, Viviane Reding, EU commissioner for information society and media, outlined a new governance model for the Internet.
She called for a fully private and accountable ICANN, accompanied by an independent judicial body, as well as a multilateral forum for governments to discuss general Internet governance policy and security issues.
"I trust that President (Barack) 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," said Reding in her video message.
"Accountability of ICANN is a must," said Reding. "In the long run, 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 called for a fully privatized and independent ICANN, which complies with the best standards of corporate governance, in particular with those on financial transparency and internal accountability, and is subject to effective judicial review.
She also recommended a "G12" multilateral forum where governments can discuss general Internet governance policy issues. The G12 forum shall meet at least twice a year and can make, by majority, recommendations to ICANN.