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Russia, China will not dominate Web: ICANN chief

Freedoms not threatened under multi-stakeholder proposals, says head of admin body

Russia, China will not dominate Web: ICANN chief
Chehadé: For 15 years ICANN has operated without… any government capturing the decision making.

The chief executive of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) yesterday moved to assuage fears that the body's ceding of control over top-level domains to international multi-stakeholder oversight, would not impact Internet freedoms, Reuters reported.

Fadi Chehadé was responding to concerns voiced by US conservatives in a congressional hearing, that countries such as China and Russia would seek to take control of the new Internet watchdog and curtail the flow of information.

"Our commitment to the multi-stakeholder model is not so much for the few who do not believe in it, it should be to the great middle mass that would like to see us stand by it and they will stand with us," said Chehadé.

"The multi-stakeholder model, it stops [countries such as Cina and Russia]... I agree that people will talk about capturing [control of ICANN], but they haven't. For 15 years ICANN has operated without one government or any government capturing the decision making."

ICANN is based in the US and is under contract with the country's Department of Commerce to administer the Internet's addressing system. That contract is due to expire in September 2015 and will not be renewed, in response to international pressure for the US to relinquish de facto control over the global digital ecosystem.

Pressure to move to a multi-stakeholder model - which would involve governments, private sector entities and other interested parties sharing stewardship on a consensus basis - stemmed from concerns, in the EU and elsewhere, about US spy agencies' surveillance programmes.

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