The European Union has called for the US to hand over control of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) to an independent body.
EU information society commissioner Viviane Reding said that the current system, under which Icann is run by the US Department of Commerce, is unsustainable, and that the organisation, which assigns internet addresses, needs to be free of control by one nation.
"At the moment, the US government is the only body exercising some oversight over Icann. I believe that the US, so far, has done this in a reasonable manner, " Reding said in her weekly internet address.
"In the long run, it is not defendable that the government department of only one country has oversight of an internet function which is used by hundreds of millions of people in countries all over the world."
The current agreement between Icann and the Department of Commerce runs out on 30 September, which the commissioner described as the "moment of truth".
Reding favours a fully privatised and accountable Icann which would be subject to review by an international tribunal, not just the California courts where the organisation is based.
Governments would be able to make recommendations to Icann by setting up a 'G-12 for internet governance' group, which would comprise two representatives from North America, South America, Europe and Africa, three representatives from Asia and Australia, as well as a chairman as a non-voting member.
The EU will begin discussing the case this week, and Reding hopes that president Obama will take these views into consideration.
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