No thanks, says a U.S. government official.
The United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is ready to take over governance of the Internet from the U.S., ITU head Yoshio Utsumi said today. The U.S. has clashed with the European Union and much of the rest of the world over the future of the Internet. It currently manages the global information system through a partnership with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in Marina Del Rey, Calif.
"We could do it if we were asked to," Utsumi told a news conference. The UN agency’s experience in communications, its structure and its cooperation with private and public bodies made it best placed to take on the role, he said.
But Washington officials have made clear they would oppose any such move — despite widespread demands for changes in the current system. "We will not agree to the United Nations taking over management of the Internet," said David Gross, a U.S. State Department official attending a two-week conference preparing for a UN Information Society Summit set for Tunisia in November.
The U.S. government, whose Department of Commerce oversees ICANN, said it would never take any action that would affect the working of the Internet. But countries like Iran say they fear Washington could pull the plug on them at any time.