UN officials applaud United States intent to transition oversight of key web domains

Photo: ITU

18 March 2014 – United Nations officials have welcomed the recent announcement the United States plans to transition key oversight of domain names and other aspects of the Internet’s architecture to the global community, as a major step towards the multilateral Internet governance that the UN has been advocating for many years.

For the past 15 years, the US Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NITA), has been the watchdog of sales and assignments of web domains such as “.com” or “.org”. With this announced intention to relinquish stewardship, the United States is in line with the decisions taken at the 2005 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis, which agreed on a “multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance.”

“The Secretary-General takes note of this important development,” said spokesman Stéphane Dujarric. “He encourages Governments, intergovernmental organizations, civil society, the private sector and the Internet technical community to engage in furthering the process to ensure a single, open, free, secure and trustworthy Internet.”

The US announcement to change oversight arrangements of these critical Internet mechanisms, was also welcomed by the Dr. Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

“I would like to reiterate what I have said many times: the Internet is a global public good and therefore all nations and peoples should have an equal say in its running and development,” he declared in a news release, stressing that “this development will lead to improved and productive cooperation between the telecommunications and Internet communities.”

Regarding the transition plan for these responsibilities, Dr. Touré called on all stakeholders to develop one that respects the principles established by the two-part WSIS in 2003 and 2005. “This means, inclusive of all nations and stakeholders, from developing and developed countries alike, and conducted in a transparent, open, constructive manner with a view to ensuring a more equitable and accessible Internet for all,” he explained.


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