Europe calls for less US influence over the internet

The US is used to being a dominating force in the world -- this is true in sport, politics, economics, and many other areas -- but the European Commission thinks there should be less US influence over the internet. There are concerns about the level of control the United States has over the technologies and protocols that underpin the internet. One area for concern is ICANN which operates on behalf of the US government yet exerts control over procedures that have global effects.

There is also concern that Europe does not currently have enough sway over the internet. Neelie Kroes, commissioner in charge of telecommunications policy, said: "Europe must contribute to a credible way forward for global internet governance. Europe must play a strong role in defining what the net of the future looks like."

US surveillance of the internet sent shockwaves around the world and caused tensions in the relationship between the US and Europe. Following revelations by Edward Snowden about the web monitoring activities of the US, there was widespread uproar. The European Union had initialy said that an agreement to grant US agencies access to European data would be ended, but it was ultimately maintained.

A vote is due to take place to determine whether Europe-based servers should be used to store data that is gathered online, but the real aim is to try to make the internet less US-centric. A careful equilibrium needs to be struck if a globally balanced internet is to be created, but care needs to be taken that other governments don’t exert too much control -- we've already seen what has happened in China.

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