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U.S. Will Extend ICAAN Agreement

The U.S. Commerce Department said Wednesday it will extend its oversight of the California organization that handles domain name policies, while finding ways to improve the group's accountability and transparency.

John Kneuer, the department's acting assistant secretary for communications and information, said the government's current agreement with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers works and should continue.

Commerce plans to renew a memorandum of understanding with ICANN, but it will likely add provisions designed to address complaints that the group is sometimes too secret and makes decisions that don't reflect the Internet community at large.

The current agreement expires at the end of the month, but neither Kneuer nor Paul Twomey, ICANN's president and chief executive, provided details about the length of the pending extension or about any changes.

ICANN was selected in 1998 to handle the Internet's addressing issues. The U.S. government, which funded the Internet's early development, kept veto powers over ICANN decisions.

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