Liberty Call

SINGAPORE, March 24, 2014 (AFP) – Control of the Internet should be handed from US supervision to a diverse group of stakeholders, and not to governments that could limit freedoms, a meeting on the web’s future heard Monday. Organisers also said that a US decision to relinquish control was not the result of any one event — after speculation it came under pressure from snooping disclosures from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

The talks are the first global consultation since the US announced this month it will hand control of the Internet’s technical operations to “multi-stakeholders” including IT organisations, businesses, governments, civil society groups and academia.

The four-day Singapore meeting was convened by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which the US has tasked with guiding the transition.

ICANN, a US-based non-profit group, controls domain names and Internet addresses under a contract that expires in September 2015, by which time back-end operations of the Internet are expected to be under new administration.

ICANN chief executive Fadi Chehade said any transition plan must adhere to the principles of keeping the Internet open and secur