Globalise the internet, says EU

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The executive body of the European Union (EU) plans to globalise how the World Wide Web is governed in order to lessen the influence of the US government, which has implemented a massive spying program known as PRISM.

On February 12, the European Commission will file a policy paper that proposes the adoption of “concrete and actionable steps” to globalise key web functions, including the allocation of top-level domain names like .com and .org.

The US Commerce Department has indirect control over certain internet architecture elements, which it contractually grants to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

To ensure that internet traffic is routed properly, the executive branch of the EU will also suggest a timeline to completely internationalise the US-based ICANN, which manages important aspects of the internet’s backbone.

“Large-scale surveillance and intelligence activities have…led to a loss of confidence in the Internet and its present governance arrangements,” stated the draft policy paper previewed by the The Wall Street Journal.

The US Commerce Department previously said that it is open to discussions regarding how the internet is governed. However, the agency declined to reveal whether it would give up its control of certain internet architecture elements.

“The US government appreciates the thoughtful leadership of the internet technical community on this important issue,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce Lawrence E. Strickling in January.

“We want to work collectively to make multi-stakeholder governance more inclusive while maintaining the stability of the open and innovative internet,” he added.