ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade has told Bloomberg yesterday in an interview that government attempts to impose rules on the Internet are doomed to fail
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Governments can’t effectively enforce laws on websites available in different jurisdictions, ICANN Chief Executive Officer Fadi Chehade said in an interview yesterday. Any group that makes policies for the Web must be decentralized and involve the private sector and academia, he said.
“The Internet itself has morphed so fast” that policies may be futile, Chehade said by phone from Geneva. “We need mechanisms that are rapid, that are effective and that involve all the stakeholders.”
His intervention comes as governments are wrestling with how to police the Internet, amid debate about issues from cybercrime and equal access to taxation and child protection.
The United Nation’s telecommunications body this month discussed taking on a more powerful role in governing the Internet, including setting rules for privacy and cybersecurity — though it decided against the move.
ICANN, whose full name is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is making progress in its efforts to achieve full independence from the U.S. government, Chehade said. The U.S. Department of Commerce, which has oversight of the group, said in March it will give up control.
Chehade also said that Los-Angeles-based ICANN supports rules that allow equal access to the Internet amid an escalating row over whether some Web traffic can be prioritized.
President Barack Obama last week called for the “strongest possible rules” to protect the open Internet and asked for a ban on a paid fast lane for some Web traffic. That pit him against network providers such as Dallas-based AT&T Inc., who have said that lighter regulation is needed to ensure providers don’t block or slow Web traffic, and that strict rules would block investment.
ICANN is aligned with “the Internet’s philosophy of openness and equal access,” Chehade said. Still, the group doesn’t have an official policy or a direct relationship with any parties involved in net neutrality, he said.
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