ICANN remains under international pressure to sever ties with the United States government when its current contract expires in September 2009. The pressure comes primarily from the concern that countries, particularly China and Russia, will institute their own regulatory systems for domain names if U.S. control continues, causing a breakdown of the domain name system. As Rod Beckstrom, ICANN's new chief executive points out, "It turns out a lot of people care about names because there can only be one name for a thing in cyberspace."
In order to help prevent such fractures, ICANN has created a government advisory committee that has the power to present global concerns to the organization's 15 voting board members. In addition to the contract that allows the U.S. government some oversight of ICANN, the organization also is under contract with the government to continue oversight of the domain name system until 2011. "It is very important that the U.S. government signal to the international Internet community, and other governments in particular, that it is committed to freeing up its unilateral control over the unique identifiers of the Internet," says Keith Davidson, executive director of InternetNZ, a nonprofit that oversees the network in New Zealand.
Italian computer scientist Stefano Trumpy says ICANN is ready to function without U.S. government supervision and does not want the United Nations or any other international body to take over the U.S. role. "The problem of ICANN is not to substitute the oversight of one government with an oversight exercised by a multitude of government but rather to get rid of a single government," Trumpy says.
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Abstracts Copyright © 2009 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA
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