The European Commission (EC) has called for wider global management of the internet in the wake of the PRISM spying scandal, which came to light last June.
Vice president for the Digital Agenda in the EC Neelie Kroes argued that Europe must take a lead in decentralising the management of key internet bodies, to ensure one country, namely the US, does not become too dominant in this space.
She said: "The next two years will be critical in redrawing the global map of internet governance. Europe must contribute to a credible way forward for global internet governance. Our fundamental freedoms and human rights are not negotiable. They must be protected online.”
Chief among the plans outlined by Kroes is a move to globalise the management of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which oversees key functions of the internet such as internet protocol (IP) addresses and domain names.
She also called for the creation of an online platform within the Global Internet Policy Observatory (GIPO) it is creating, so that internet policies agreed among nations are clearly displayed online for all to see.
Kroes went on to say that having the management of the internet in the hands of one body was too risky, given the importance of worldwide internet freedoms.
“Some are calling for the International Telecommunications Union to take control of key internet functions. I agree that governments have a crucial role to play, but top-down approaches are not the right answer,” she said.
“We must strengthen the multi-stakeholder model to preserve the internet as a fast engine for innovation.”
The calls by the EC underline the mistrust that has been created by the PRISM revelations from the US over the past few months, which included EU leaders having their phones tapped by spy agencies.
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