The US government's decision to give more autonomy to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was welcomed by the European Commission this week.
On 30 September, a highly prescriptive MoU between the US Department of Commerce and ICANN expired. It has now been replaced by lighter arrangements intended to end definitely by 2009. The European Commission has been working for several years on a system of Internet governance which will be entrusted fully to the private sector without government interference in the Internet's day-to-day management. Completing the transition of Internet governance to the private sector also had been the explicit request by the EU and its partners at the WSIS in Tunis in November 2005. The new 'Joint Project Agreement' will expire in 2009. The Commission is currently preparing for the first meeting of newly created Internet Governance Forum (IGF) which will be convened by the UN Secretary-General from 30 October to 3 November in Athens. It aims to transparently discuss with civil society, industry and other non-government stakeholders broader Internet governance topics, particularly, in development-related issues.