Can Fifa Control the ‘Net?

With all of the bad press surrounding the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (Fifa) in recent news, it would be a good thing for the association to receive some positive media attention. According to the guardian, Fifa actually looks a lot like the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann), barring bribery allegations. The major difference is that when things go wrong for Fifa, there is no one there to intervene.

the guardian suggests “It was thought that 30 September 2015 was supposed to be a significant date in internet governance. The US government was going to hand over key responsibilities to the internet community – but that date will be missed, because Icann’s board looks set to oppose plans to make itself more accountable.

If Icann’s board can override the consensus of its own community, it casts doubt on the viability of the entire Icann model, and exposes the flakiness of the way essential internet resources are governed.” (http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/sep/21/icann-internet-us-government)

Icann is a not-for-profit that coordinates both IP addresses and domain names. There could be a risk involved if the entirety of the internet is in the hands of a company such as this with no federal protocols performing checks and balances.  That is exactly why the US Government has worked behind Icann for almost 15 years. It is clear why this has been a controversial issue over the years.

In terms of increasing accountability, Icann needs development. Directors can only be fired by each other and they can alter the constitution. Icann’s own domain name industry provides its funding. This creates theoretical governance issues and opportunities for corruption.

“Icann’s board – as ultimate authority in this little company running global internet resources, and answerable (in fact, and in law) to no one – does have the power to reject the community’s proposals. But not everything that can be done, should be done. If the board blunders on, it will alienate those volunteers who are the beating heart of multi-stakeholder governance. It will also perfectly illustrate why change is required.”

If Icann were to control the internet in similar ways in which Fifa ran their business, things would need to be strictly reviewed. That is why people believe that there needs to be some sort of check and balance with whichever organization runs the internet. With this in mind, there would be no room for bribery or arrests.

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