'Delink ICANN from US jurisdiction'

'Delink ICANN from US jurisdiction'

Eight Indian civil society organisations involved with internet governance have called for complete delinking of ICANN from US jurisdiction, saying an important global public infrastructure being subject to a single country’s control is unacceptable.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable.

The demand from Bengaluru-based Centre for Internet and Society and IT for Change as well as Delhi-based Software Freedom Law Centre among others came against the backdrop of ICANN’s meeting in Hyderabad that ended on  Wednesday.

The other organisations involved in the campaign are Free Software Movement of India (Hyderabad), Society for Knowledge Commons, Digital Empowerment Foundation, Delhi Science Forum and Third World Network (all in New Delhi).

“Urgent steps (should) be taken to transit ICANN from its current US jurisdiction. Only then can ICANN become a truly global organisation . We would like to make it clear that our objection is not directed particularly against the US, we are simply against an important global public infrastructure being subject to a single country’s jurisdiction,” a joint statement said.

Though the US has given up its role of signing entries to the Internet’s root zone file, which represents the addressing system for the global Internet, the groups said, the organisation that manages ICANN continues to be under US jurisdiction and hence subject to its courts, legislature and executive agencies.

“Keeping such an important global public infrastructure under US jurisdiction is expected to become a very problematic means of extending US laws and policies across the world,” the statement said.

Explaining the issue, it said country domain names like .br and .ph remain subject to US jurisdiction.

“Iran’s .ir was recently sought to be seized by some US private parties because of alleged Iranian support to terrorism. Although the plea was turned down, another court in another case may decide otherwise. Other countries cannot feel comfortable to have at the core of the Internet’s addressing system an organisation that can be dictated by one government,” the statement said.

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