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California Internet governance firm in push back from EU

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The European Union will push for diminished U.S. influence on Internet governance because of ‘loss of confidence’ in the current U.S.-centric model, according to a WSJ report.

The European Commission, the executive arm of the E.U., is set Wednesday to propose a series of steps to globalize Internet governance functions, reported The Wall Street Journal, citing an E.U. draft policy paper. The proposal is sparked by revelations of mass U.S. surveillance activities online, the newspaper said.

‘Large-scale surveillance and intelligence activities have led to a loss of confidence in the Internet and its present governance arrangements,’ the Journal quotes the draft of the policy paper as stating.

The Los Angeles, California based ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), currently oversees Internet governance issues, including the assignment of top-level domains. The U.S. government and ICANN have a long-standing operating agreement, but in recent years, many countries have questioned the arrangement, especially the past several months due to the NSA surveillance issues.

The EU does not favor the UN but rather the paper calls for a multilevel stake holder process that ICANN trumpets as its current model. An ICANN spokesman didn't have an immediate comment on the proposal, while an E.U. spokeswoman wasn't immediately available for comment.

The Internet should remain a single, open, free, unregimented network of networks, subject to the same laws and norms that apply in other areas of our day-to-day lives,’ the E.U. document said, according to the Journal.; ‘Its governance should be based on an inclusive, transparent and accountable multilevel stakeholder model.’

A timeline for fully internationalizing the U.S.-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which oversees key aspects of the Internet's infrastructure to ensure digital traffic is routed properly, will be established, according to the document.

ICANN President and CEO Fadi Chehade, since taking over the organization in mid-2012, has concentrated on giving ICANN a more international focus, and he's opened offices in Turkey, Singapore, Beijing and Geneva.

Governments including Russia, China and Brazil have called for more international governance of the Internet in recent years in order to bridge the gap from them and the U.S. Since last year's revelations about broad U.S. National Security Agency surveillance programs, Brazil has proposed to wall off its Internet traffic from U.S. networks.

To view other related articles on the Internet see below the list in Author’s suggestions and the video atop this article on ICANN.

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