Battle For Control Of Net Kicks Off In Brazil
The battle for control of the internet enters a new phase today when 850 experts thrash out its future in Brazil.
Last month, the US announced it plans to give up oversight of the way net addresses are distributed.
Now hundreds of government officials, technical experts and academics are meeting at the NetMundial conference in Sao Paulo to discuss who should oversee the worldwide web in future.
China and Russia want the United Nations to have some say over how the internet is controlled, while the US and parts of Europe say it should be at arm's length from government control.
A draft outcome document has been drawn up for discussion, but the final text will not be binding.
The US currently oversees the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann), but is willing to relinquish control by September 2015.
Officials from countries including China, the US and Great Britain will attend the two-day conference, which was due to be opened by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
Organisers say every attendee - from academics to government officials - will have an equal voice.
The goal is to agree on principles that could form the basis of later internet governance discussions.
It is expected that despite the non-binding nature of the discussions, an accord will be hard to reach.