Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Relinquishing U.S Oversight of the Internet - My PBS NewsHour Appearance

I was interviewed on the PBS NewsHour, on March 24, 2014, along with Vint Cerf, Google's Chief Evangelist, about the Obama Administration’s recently-announced plans to transfer oversight of the Internet to some yet-to-be-determined entity.

I expressed concerns about what will happen at the end of the contemplated transfer process – how the new international entity or organization that will manage the Internet will work, especially with regard to whether such entity will be truly insulated from government control and interference and whether, under the new structure, governments will assume more leeway to prevent the free flow of information on the Net and censor messages with which they disapprove.

Since 1998, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, has exercised light oversight over the current manager of the Internet, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. ICANN is a non-profit, private sector-led multistakeholder organization. ICANN is required to operate in a collaborative and transparent manner that fosters accountability to the various non-government stakeholders – commercial enterprises, civil society organizations representing Internet users, technical experts, and so forth – that are represented in ICANN's governance structure.

The PBS NewsHour video segment can be viewed here.