Washington said Wednesday that it would give other governments and the private sector a greater oversight role in an organization that oversees the Internet.
The move follows criticism from European regulators and others that the American government could wield too much influence over a system used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Those critics have complained, among other things, about the slow rollout of Internet addresses in languages other than English.
Washington, however, stopped short Wednesday of cutting ties with the organization, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or Icann. The government agreed instead to establish advisory panels made up of government and private-sector representatives around the world.
The panels will review how open are the decisions made by Icann, whether they reflect the public interest, ensure stability and promote competition for domain names, like those ending in “.com” and other suffixes. Icann decisions could influence what domain names are available, what languages they are in and how much they cost.
“The Internet is on a long-term arch from being 100 percent American to being 100 percent global,” said Rod Beckstrom, the former U.S. cybersecurity chief who joined Icann in July as chief executive. “This is a significant step along that arch to becoming more global.”
The government agreed instead to establish advisory panels made up of government and private-sector representatives around the world.