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A group of academics on Friday called on the United States to work toward establishing an international body responsible for running the Internet.
Syracuse University-based Internet Governance Project said the U.S. should assert its Internet leadership by offering proposals for cooperating with other countries in the oversight and supervision of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. ICANN manages Internet addresses, domain names and the huge number of parameters associated with Internet protocols.
"While we can justly claim that the U.S. 'invented' the Internet, with over a billion users now, US citizens are a small minority of the networked world," Syracuse University professor Milton Mueller said in an IGP statement. "If the Internet's central coordination functions are seen as a U.S. strategic asset rather than as a neutral, globally shared infrastructure, the risks of deliberate disruption and politicization of the Internet can only increase."
The IGP comments were released during a symposium sponsored by the IGP and three other university programs to assess the final report of the U.N. Working Group on Internet Governance. The WGIG report is expected to become the basis for international negotiations at the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva in September.
Much of the discussion at the symposium centered on the U.S. Commerce Department's June statement, saying the government would "continue to maintain" its unilateral authority over the Internet's domain name and addressing system.
The statement disappointed many in the global Internet community, who believed the upcoming Geneva summit presented an opportunity to negotiate more open multilateral governance of the Internet, the IGP said.