A decision by the United States to indefinitely retain oversight of the main computers that control internet traffic drew concerns Friday from foreign officials, many of whom want an international body in charge instead.

A Japanese official termed Thursday’s announcement “not entirely necessary.”

“When the internet is being increasingly utilized for private use, by businesses and so forth, there is a societal debate about whether it’s befitting to have one country maintaining checks on that,” said Masahiko Fujimoto of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications’ data communications division. “It’s likely to fuel that debate.”

The U.S. announcement marked a departure from previously stated policy.

Michael D. Gallagher, assistant secretary for communications and information at the Commerce Department, shied away from terming the declaration a reversal, calling it instead “the foundation of U.S. policy going forward.”

“The signals and words and intentions and policies need to be clear so all of us benefiting in the world from the internet and in the U.S. economy can have confidence there will be continued stewardship,” Gallagher told The Associated Press on Thursday.

He said the declaration, officially made in a four-paragraph statement posted online, was in response to growing security threats and increased reliance on the internet globally for communications and commerce.

Read more.