Latest posts by Alvin Bryan (see all)
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The US has been viewed suspiciously by the world since the extent of NSA spying became public. Now they want to regain the trust of international leadership. One pressing issue is the governance of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Internet control by the US has been heavy up until now. But it looks like they are backing off to show the word that they support Internet freedom.
US Letting Go of Internet Control
The US Department of Commerce used to play a strong supervisory role in ICANN. But now they are taking the back seat. The US hopes that this gesture will show the world that they are sincere about supporting Internet freedom. A grand gesture may not be enough after the NSA surveillance scandal. The integrity of the US government has suffered a lot because of what the spy agency has been doing. Last Friday, the US said that it wants a diverse group to manage the Internet. It mentioned representatives from nonprofit organizations and engineers as examples of those who they think should be making the decisions.
The US has expressed that it truly wants to help make the Internet safe from government censorship and other forms of interference. But international leaders are not putting a lot of faith in these statements. The NSA was conducting mass surveillance of the Internet while the US was claiming to be against Internet control and interference. Some countries including Russia may even choose to push for more government Internet control because of NSA spying. This type of move could come as early as next week when ICANN meets in Singapore. They may also put it on the table next month at the NetMundial conference on Internet governance in São Paulo and in October at the ITU constitutional convention in South Korea.
The US has more Internet control that was previously known. The NSA reports released by Edward Snowden show this. They also show that the US has been protecting that high degree of Internet control. The United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union (ITU) pushed for Internet control by an oversight committee. This committee would make sure that no single country had too much Internet control. But the US rejected this proposal along with several allied countries. And they will continue to resist greater Internet control by foreign governments or ITU. Robert McDowell of the Federal Communications Commission thinks that because of this, many countries may back Russia when it calls for greater Internet controls by foreign governments.