I am thrilled that the US Department of Commerce has announced that it will hand over control of some of the core Internet functions to the global multi-stakeholder community (functions like having the final say on the web's top-level domain names, such as .com or .de). This means the US Government is honouring a long-standing promise at a critical time for Internet Governance. This comes almost exactly one month after our latest call for a clear timeline for the globalisation of ICANN and the IANA functions. I will say it again: the next two years will be critical in redrawing the map of Internet Governance – all those with an interest in preserving a trusted, free and open Internet must act now.
This move by the US Government is the responsible and right thing to do. It will help to build greater confidence of the global community in the Internet’s management. Transparent, accountable and inclusive multi-stakeholder governance to protect the open Internet is among the key principles for the future of Internet governance that I believe we should all agree on. This is at the heart of our Communication and makes good on our Digital Agenda commitment "to ensure that the Internet governance ecosystem is truly inclusive, accountable and independent from limited interests" (DAE Action 97).
And while from time to time we have had some operational issues of concern, I fully support ICANN as the coordinator and facilitator of decisions related to the "domain name" system. We look forward to working with ICANN to improving and strengthening its functioning under the new framework.
I know very well that behind the smooth running of the Internet are many dedicated engineers and scientists whose hard work and ingenuity we sometimes take for granted – until something goes wrong. Some more hard work lies ahead to ensure that the transition to a globalised naming system does not endanger the stability and security of the web’s address book – but I am happy that the Internet technical community is also fully on board.
The upcoming Brazil Meeting on Internet Governance will be a good occasion to look at the details of the transition and to ensure that the outcome is what we all want: a trusted, open Internet which continues to be an engine of innovation while protecting fundamental freedoms and human rights.