Last week, the French Senate unveiled a proposal which, if enacted, would bring sweeping changes to the Internet Governance landscape.
A Senate working group worked on the proposal for 6 months. Although it is not only focussed on IG, the report can be seen as a further indictment of ICANN, following French Secretary for the Digital Economy Axelle Lemaire's claim that the organisation is no longer the right place to discuss IG.
Tasked with clarifying the role Europe should have in IG, the working group wants to see the IGF morphed into a "World Governance Council" which would have independent funding and be tasked with overseeing ICANN.
The working group also suggests that ICANN itself be evolved into "WICANN" for World ICANN. This new organisation would no longer be US-based but instead, headquartered in Switzerland. It would oversee the Internet root as a truly international body, and it's Board and books would need approval from the World Governance Council.
Although these proposals will appear far-fetched to many in the ICANN ecosystem, the mere fact that the government of a country like France is seriously working on these issues should give cause for concern to those who fear government-led initiatives to control the Internet.
It should also serve as a warning to ICANN that its current situation is fast becoming untenable. With ICANN's own community calling for more Board accountability, no-one should be surprised to see governments doing the same.
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