updated 5/4/2009 10:43:10 AM ET 2009-05-04T14:43:10

A senior European Union official called on President Barack Obama to give up United States' oversight of the Internet.

Major decisions on how the Internet is run are made solely by the California-based nonprofit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers — which is overseen by the U.S. Commerce Department under an agreement that expires September 30.

EU Commissioner Viviane Reding, the EU's Internet chief, called for the severing of links between ICANN and the U.S. government and instead allow monitoring by an independent legal authority and a group of 12 nations that would meet regularly to discuss Internet governance and security.

"I trust that President Obama will have the courage, the wisdom and the respect for the global nature of the Internet to pave the way in September for a new, more accountable, more transparent, more democratic and more multilateral form of Internet governance," Reding said.

"It is not defendable that the government department of only one country has oversight of an internet function which is used by hundreds of millions of people in countries all over the world," she said in a video message on her Web site.

The Bush administration resisted efforts to hand ICANN oversight to a United Nations agency.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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