European Parliament to ICANN: Shape Up (and be Less US-Centric, Too)
Date: Tuesday March 27 2001, @03:32PM
Topic: .eu and Europe too

The European Parliament recently produced its wish list for ICANN and the Internet.

Under the title, 'The Organisation and Management of the Internet - International and European Policy Issues 1998-2000', the resolution begins with several recitations, notably the Parliament's belief that "balanced international representation must be achieved within ICANN ... so that due account may be taken of all five geographical areas covered by the organisation," and that "the European Union is at a competitive disadvantage with respect to North America as regards the infrastructure required for the expansion of the Internet." The resolutions go on to demand democracy, transparency, stronger intellectual property protection, and - especially - further distancing from the U.S. government.

What does this mean for ICANN? Although I'm no expert on decoding EuroParliament-speak, I think it means at least three things.

  1. The EU wishes to have European Internet matters decided at the EU level, rather than the national level and that includes much ccTLD policy (so much for subsidiarity!). It wants parity before ICANN with the U.S. government.
  2. As a result, the EU remains convinced (despite what would seem an increasing pile of contrary evidence) that ICANN control of the DNS is better than the U.S. government control of the DNS. This also suggests that a collision between the Senator Burns vision of the next few years (see below) and the EU vision is fairly likely.
  3. Perhaps most significant in the short run, the EU is putting down a couple of markers for ICANN, warning it not to abolish the at-large, or to cut out representation of areas, such as Africa, with almost no current voters. And, the EU is telling ICANN that it better improve its procedures.
I've reproduced several of the most interesting parts of the resolution inside....

Among the key resolutions are these:
The Parliament

  • "Emphasises the need for all five geographical areas covered by ICANN to be represented by democratically elected representatives on the organisation's Board of Directors"
  • "neither the Commission, nor the US Government, nor other governments should interfere in the organisation and management of the Internet, but they should give it sufficient independence and a legal basis at international level, so that it may be an independent network;"
  • "Supports the continuation of the self-regulatory basis of ICANN's operations, but emphasises that the EU must ensure that ICANN works within the principles of existing international codes, particularly the WIPO protocols;"
  • "Considers it necessary to guarantee the independence of ICANN from the US Government and to define the legal framework to which it must adhere in future, on the understanding that it is of paramount importance to maintain international neutrality if ICANN is to play a key role in the global development of the information society; considers, similarly, that all continents must be represented on it;"
  • "calls on the Commission and the ICANN Board to ensure that '.EU' is created as soon as possible;"
  • supports the ICANN-UDRP (although it erroneously calls it "the WIPO's arbitration service in respect of the registration of domain names which infringe trademarks")
  • " Notes that it took a long time to introduce the seven new domain names and that the time thus lost needs to be made up as quickly as possible; maintains, more generally, the need for a more transparent and democratic process when other new domain names are created in the future;"

Read the full text of the European Parliament resolution on the Commission communication to the Council and the European Parliament on 'The Organisation and Management of the Internet - International and European Policy Issues 1998-2000' (COM(2000) 202 - C5-0263/2000 - 2000/2140(COS))

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Four questions to the EP rapporteur
by alexander on Wednesday March 28 2001, @05:55AM (#457)
User #22 Info | http://www.icannchannel.de
Massimo Carraro MEP, the rapporteur of the European Parliament on the Commission's DNS policy communication, answered the following questions:

The EP wants the .eu top level domain "as soon as possible" -- what do you see as the main advantages of a Dot-EU domain?
This would mean to give all European Internet Users an instrument which is more familiar with them and nearer to them. This should help developing Internet more and more. The creation of Dot-Eu domain name gives Enterprises that wish to operate across the Internal market a specific European identification which will be recognized globally.

You are demanding "the independence of ICANN from the US Government". Why do you think this is necessary and do you think it will be achieved in the foreseeable future?
Why the independence of ICANN from the US Government? Because Internet
is a worldwide instrument and if we want a function of global Net, it is not correct to think about an involvement of a Government, neither of the U.S Government, nor of the EU Commission, of course. It must be an organism absolutely independent from every political power. I think that this can be achieved also because this trend has been enforced by the U.S. Administration too. The European Commission should do the same.

In its resolution, the EP calls for "a transparent membership process" and "democratically elected representatives". Currently, ICANN is studying whether the At Large membership will continue electing part
of the Board of Directors. What would be your recommendation to ICANN?

I do not have any particular recommendation, because ICANN is acting really well. The only thing I warmly suggest is to grant the participation of all continents in the ICANN Board of Directors.

In general, the Parliament seems to be content with the way the
Commission has dealt with this issue. Do you see room for improvement and if so, where?

Generally speaking the EU Parliament agreed with the way the Commission has dealt with this issue. We have to be very careful and avoid that bureaucrats enter ICANN Management. We have to create homogeneous rules at European level for the Market development, but we do not have to have any interference by political or administrative Authorities in the ICANN Management.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re: European Parliament to ICANN: Shape Up (and be
by joppenheimer on Friday March 30 2001, @06:18AM (#464)
User #5 Info | http://JudithOppenheimer.com
Question #3 in the comment above ... In its resolution, the EP calls for "a transparent membership process" and "democratically elected representatives". Currently, ICANN is studying whether the At Large membership will continue electing part of the Board of Directors. What would be your recommendation to ICANN?

Massimo Carraro MEP, the rapporteur of the European Parliament on the Commission's DNS policy communication, replies, "I do not have any particular recommendation, because ICANN is acting really well..."

In which case, exactly what "transparent membership process" and "democratically elected representatives" is the EP referring to?

Do we really need *more* ICANNish babble-speak mucking up the DNS?

[ Reply to This | Parent ]




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