Friday

21st Jul 2017

EU bids to end US dominance in internet control

  • The EU commission wants there to be international control over the structures that govern the web (Photo: Bombardier)

The European Commission wants to end US control over the governance of the internet, according to a report published Wednesday (12 February).

The EU paper on "Europe's role in shaping the future of Internet governance" calls for an international group to replace the California-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which manages the assignation of domains such as .com, .co.uk and .org to new websites.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

At present, the United States is the centre of power behind the structure of the internet. ICANN currently has an exclusive contract with the US government, with whom a number of jurisdictions complain it has a too-cosy relationship.

EU digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes called for "a timeline to globalise ICANN" and warned that the web should not be allowed to "unravel into a series of regional or national networks."

The paper claims that "greater international balance within the existing structures can increase the legitimacy of current governance arrangements."

Speaking with reporters on Wednesday (12 February), Kroes said the issue of internet governance was likely to rise up the political agenda in the upcoming years.

"These will be make or break years for deciding for what sort of Internet we want to have," she said, adding that "Europe must play a strong role in defining what the net of the future looks like."

But the paper's fate will depend on how much agreement on a common internet strategy can be reached between the bloc's 28 governments.

The online economy is one of the fastest growing sectors in Europe and its share of the bloc's economic output is forecast to increase from 3.8 percent in 2010 to 5.7 percent in 2016, according to a report by the Boston Consulting Group.

But public trust in the web has been rocked over the past year by a series of scandals, many of them documented by whistleblower Edward Snowden revealing the scale of government surveillance by the US national security services.

The scandals are expected to have a big impact on the online economy. The US cloud industry faces up to €25.8 billion in lost revenues, according to a report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington-based think tank.

EU-US relations are already tense when it comes to regulating the web. On Wednesday MEPs backed a report calling for the suspension of two data-sharing agreements between the two blocs.

Meanwhile, a handful of governments, including Russia, China, and Brazil, have called for greater government control over the Internet.

However, Kroes said that the commission did not favour more state control of the web. "We are rejecting a United Nations or government of internet governance … we want geographic balance not government control," she said.

Instead, the EU executive favours a "multi-stakeholder" approach in which governments, industry, academics, and campaign groups, collaborate on the network's functioning.

Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU

Lawmakers in Poland adopted a controversial reform of the Supreme Court, despite warnings from the EU that the move could trigger a sanction procedure over the rule of law.

EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions

EU and UK negotiators presented their Brexit positions to identify common grounds this week, but that was made difficult by the scarcity of UK position papers.

EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions

EU and UK negotiators presented their Brexit positions to identify common grounds this week, but that was made difficult by the scarcity of UK position papers.

News in Brief

  1. Polish parliament adopts controversial justice reform
  2. GMO opt-out plan unlikely to go anywhere in 2017
  3. Slovak PM threatens to boycott inferior food
  4. France takes Google's 'right to be forgotten' to EU court
  5. Turkey accuses German companies of supporting terror
  6. Israel's Netanyahu caught calling EU 'crazy'
  7. UK does not collect enough data to expel EU nationals
  8. Polish president threatens to veto justice reform

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  2. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  3. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  4. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  5. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  6. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  9. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  10. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  12. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School

Latest News

  1. Dutch coalition talks lengthiest in 40 years
  2. Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU
  3. EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions
  4. Law expert: direct EU powers have become too complicated
  5. Winter is here for Spitzenkandidat, but he'll survive
  6. Mafia money pollutes the EU economy
  7. Central Europe should be wary of Brexit stopping
  8. Poland's 'July coup' and what it means for the judiciary