The Internet naming authority ICANN has signed an historic Affirmation Agreement with the US Department of Commerce that confirms the effectiveness of the ICANN model of international multi-stakeholder and bottom-up governance of the global Internet addressing system.
“This means that there can no longer be any doubt that the Internet belongs to the world and is not under the control of any single government or special interest group,” says Mike Silber, a member of ICANN’s board of directors.
“The very fact that I, as a citizen of South Africa serve on ICANN’s board, along with representatives from around the world speaks to the international diversity of this very unique organisation.”
Rod Beckstrom, ICANN CEO, adds: “This new Affirmation marks an exciting new stage in ICANN’s development as a truly international entity and it confirms once and for all, that the ICANN model of public participation works, and works effectively. It endorses a truly unique form of Internet governance, which is critical since every voice on the Internet is unique.”
Peter Dengate Thrush, a New Zealander who serves as ICANN’s chairman, comments: “The Internet is global and it is critical that its governance reflect its international nature. Now we can clearly say that a new era of the internationalisation of the Internet has begun.”
“This historic agreement is only one part of this internationalisation process,” says Mike Silber. “Soon, because of ICANN’s Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) program, all portions of an Internet domain name may be made up of characters from almost any language. This will lead to a huge increase in Internet users from regions in the world, such as the Middle East or Asia, where people may not be using computer keyboards with Latin-based characters.”