Home End of the US government control of ICANN: Towards the privatisation of internet control agencies

GEAB 108

The monthly bulletin of LEAP (European Laboratory of Political Anticipation) - 15 Oct 2016

End of the US government control of ICANN: Towards the privatisation of internet control agencies

Both in the United States and around the world, this news has been making some noise: since October the 1st, the internet is finally “free from US tutelage.” Is it, indeed? It is true that a decisive step has just been reached, since the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), a central internet entity, as we shall see, is no longer directly controlled by the US. The Obama administration (with some relative unpreparedness, by the way) has finally accepted the international emancipation of ICANN. Should this be the fundamental brick in building a multipolar world, or some additional technocratisation of digital freedom? In this respect, it is interesting to compare the reactions of the media from both sides of the Atlantic: on the US side, Obama is accused of abandoning the internet to the hands of dictatorships[1], whilst on the European side, the media almost unanimously hails the change (“ICANN finally sets free from the US[2]“; “The US has finally released the Internet![3]“)… To a certain extent, this change might look like a small revolution, one of the many symptoms of the US’ loss of influence and the transformation of the world into a multipolar one. This change can even be seen as a trial run for the US handover of power across all areas. Is this finally good news? Well, it all depends on who will take over that power…

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