U.N. Panel Seeks to Replace ICANN with International Body

February 21, 2005
February 21, 2005 – (HOSTSEARCH.COM) – Reuters has reported that developing countries want to move the regulatory power of California based ICANN to an international body to be created by the U.N. A U.N.-sponsored panel is looking to resolve the issue as well as propose solutions to problems such as cyber crime and email spam, panel leaders said on Monday.

The panel, set up in December 2003, will lay groundwork for a final decision to be taken in Tunis in November at a U.N.-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society, where global control of the world wide web may be decided.

"There is an issue that is out there and that needs to be resolved," said Nitin Desai, chairman of working group and special adviser to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Incorporated in 1998, ICANN oversees management of the Internet's crucial addressing system which matches numerical addresses to familiar Web site addresses.

While its oversight has been confined to technical matters, critics say that it is subject to U.S. political influence.

The ITU, a 138-year-old trade body that among other things established country code rules for international telephone calls, is seen by developing countries as being better able to address their needs.

The U.N. has often been criticized as having little real power and for a U.N. body to oversee the regulation of the internet may simply put such important technical issues in the hands of politicians and powerful countries with veto power in the U.N. or put ICANN in a position of contention with the U.N. body and lead to divisions in the way internet protocols are handled between countries. The upside would be that the U.N. would likely be able to communicate with the member countries of the U.N. more effectively than ICANN and thus help to spread and establish the internet more fully throughout the world.

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