Vint Cerf, the man widely acknowledged as the co-developer of the Internet, is among a slew of supporters backing the new agreement signed Wednesday between ICANN and the U.S. government.
For the past 11 years, the U.S. government had oversight of the Internet but also worked with the nonprofit group ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) to oversee the Internet Domain Name System (DNS) under The Joint Project Agreement.
On Wednesday, the deal expired. Under a new agreement, the U.S. Department of Commerce will still participate in Internet reviews, but ICANN will now take over the majority of Internet governance decisions with the participation of stakeholders from 100 countries.
"The Affirmation of Commitments by ICANN and DOC fulfills a long-standing objective of the original formation of ICANN: to create an organization that can serve the world's interest in a robust, reliable and interoperable Internet," said Cerf, in a statement.
Some Internet watchers have accused the government of having a stranglehold over Internet-related decisions.
"We've become an organization accountable solely to the Internet community," ICANN Vice President Paul Levins told The L.A. Times. "We will have review teams made up of people from all over the globe, not just a government sitting on Pennsylvania Avenue, although they will continue to play a crucial part."
ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom also said it was critical to gain input from the rest of the world regarding Web-related decisions.
"The Internet is spreading everywhere into our PDAs, telephones, our computer classrooms, in huts in Kenya, in the backwoods of Thailand, in the rain forest," said Beckstrom in a Webcast.