Europe seeks more independence from ICANN


The Internet's oversight body ICANN is facing a revolt by some of its European members. Domain name managers attending a meeting in Bucharest are demanding more autonomy from the US-based group.

Representatives of some national operators are refusing to pay membership dues.

"Some of us feel we should stand up for our reasonable rights and not give in to a US corporation," Nominet chairman William Black says.

So far, only Japan, Australia, Burundi and Malawi have renewed their contracts.

ICANN gets its authority over domain names from a 1998 agreement with the US government, and the computer that serves as the Net's master directory is located in Virginia.

ICANN argues that national registries - the corporations or non-profit organisations that run country-code domains - need to be accountable to somebody.

It proposes giving national registries greater influence over policy by granting them their own supporting organisation.

For example, if a country wanted to change managers for its registry, it would only need the support of its local community. But opponents say this does not address their difficulties in resolving more important decisions.

The week-long conference in Bucharest, which is being attended by 700 experts from around the world, will also address the formation of domain names using non-English characters.