Bully or Bodyguard? Assessing the Proper Role of the United States in Internet Governance

April 3, 2014

variety of organizations, including the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the Internet Society (ISOC), the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), have demanded that the United States step down from its historic role in providing oversight of Internet governance. In addition, European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes has called for Europe to begin “redrawing the global map of Internet governance,” and a committee in the European Commission announced its intentions to “establish a clear timeline for the globalization of ICANN.” In contrast, others have speculated that if the United States cedes its authority, other countries will begin manipulating the Internet's architecture for political purposes.

Should the U.S. government give in to these demands to relinquish its authority over the IANA function? If so, could the Administration act unilaterally, or does it need authority from Congress? And what would be the likely consequences to the long-term stability and security of the Internet? Finally, what is a feasible path forward for U.S. involvement in Internet governance?

The event is free, open to the public, and complies with ethics rules. A live webcast will be available on the day of the event on this page. Lunch will be provided.