Web freedom will survive change in control, says ICANN’s Fadi Chehadé

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 April, 2014, 9:07pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 April, 2014, 9:07pm

The head of a non-profit group that manages the internet's infrastructure defended a US move to cede oversight of the body, and played down fears that Russia, China or other countries could exert control and restrict the web's openness.

The US said last month that it would relinquish oversight of the Internet Cororation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) which controls the internet's "address book", the master database of top-level domain names such as .com and .net The US has contracted the process to ICANN since 1998.

That contract expires next year, and the US Commerce Department has said it plans to formally turn over the oversight capacity, which it says has become symbolic, to a global multi-stakeholder mechanism that the ICANN community will propose.

ICANN chief Fadi Chehade said the model - with governments, the private sector and interested parties reaching consensus - would continue to restrain countries seeking to limit web freedom.

"Everyone is focused on these three, four countries ... but in between we have 150 other countries that value the same values we do," he said.