US Control Over Domain Names Is Focus of UN Internet Forum

Critics say agency limits non-English suffixes
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2007 3:45 PM CST
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers President/CEO Paul Twomey, left, and ICANN Chair Vinton Cerf, pause for a photo after addressing ICANN members during the 30th International Public...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – US control over assigning Internet domain names was a focus of discussions at the second annual Internet Governance Forum today, the AP reports. "The Internet is transnational. It can't be under the authority of one country," said Brazil's culture minister. Many argue that US sway over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers limits the Internet's multiculturalism.

Having funded much of the Internet's R&D, Washington delegated management authority over domain names (.com, .org) to ICANN, a California non-profit, but retains a veto power. Some want the UN to control ICANN, but critics fear that could lead to use of the Internet as a political tool. ICANN's president noted that his organization was effectively 'international,' with only three Americans among its 15 board members.