| UNITED NATIONS
UNITED NATIONS May 21 The European Commission
on Wednesday urged the United States to speed up its promised
efforts to dilute U.S. influence over the governance of the
Internet, saying it was time for America's monopoly to come to
The U.S. government announced in March that it will give up
its most direct means of control over the Internet's
infrastructure, but has insisted that the job be taken on by a
group that includes the private sector and other interested
parties, not just multiple governments.
"The answer is yes, it should be quicker. There's no doubt
about that," Neelie Kroes, the European Union commissioner in
charge of telecoms policy, told Reuters at United Nations
headquarters when asked if she thought the U.S. moves were too
"It's extremely important that we have an Internet
governance that is up-to-date and is linked with the situation
of a global medium," she said in an interview. "If it is a
global medium, then it should be transparent, it should be
predictable, it should not be in the hands of a monopoly."
The EU has demanded that the United States reduce its
influence over the institutions controlling the mechanics of the
Internet, such as assigning web page addresses that allow
computers to locate one another on the network.
ICANN, a California-based organization operating under a
contract with the U.S. government, currently oversees the
introduction of new internet addresses. In the coming years,
hundreds of new so-called top-level domain addresses, such as
.london or .sex, will be added, offering newcomers more choice
of location online as web usage grows.
Kroes dismissed U.S. concerns about allowing countries like
China and Russia, which have a reputation for restricting the
Internet, to get involved in Internet governance.
"There is a saying that the kettle is saying that the other
one is black," she said in an oblique reference to U.S.
Revelations of vast U.S. spying programs leaked by former
U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden have
complicated EU-U.S. ties at a delicate moment in transatlantic
relations, as Brussels and Washington are negotiating a
free-trade pact that would encompass almost half the world's
Kroes said she supported calls by Germany for limits on
electronic surveillance, though she said it would be naive to
assume that governments would halt cyberespionage given their
essential role in providing security for their citizens.
"Spying the second oldest profession on earth, and sometimes
it's combined with the first oldest profession," she said.
"Governments promise their people that they will do their utmost
to guarantee safety and so on. Having said that, there are
limits on that, and certainly limits on implementing that type
of (espionage) activities."
(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau, editing by G Crosse)