By Thomas Lenard and Lawrence White
Published in The Hill on October 13, 2014
A previously obscure nonprofit corporation that essentially governs the Internet – the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) – has featured prominently in recent news stories due to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s plan to relinquish its key oversight role. Details of this transition will be high on the agenda as ICANN stakeholders meet in Los Angeles this week. Many observers fear that ICANN could soon be subject to the heavy-handed influences of governments that do not share the values that have led to the innovation, flexibility and openness that has hitherto characterized the Internet.
The United States’ proposed withdrawal is the opportunity for a rethinking of ICANN’s governance structure. Moreover, we believe that there is a reasonable solution to ICANN’s longstanding accountability problem that would mitigate concerns of government influence.
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