Skip to comments.U.S. Internet Control Annoys Nations
Posted on 11/11/2005 2:06:43 PM PST by DogBarkTree
FRANKFURT, GERMANY - -- On the global Internet these days, the United States is less trusted and more alone. The worldwide network was born on U.S. shores, but that matters little to the growing number of nations now demanding shared control.
An escalating feud over Internet governance is threatening to transform a U.N. summit in Tunisia next week into an acrimonious showdown between the United States and challengers including the European Union.
The debate is over whether Washington, through its oversight of a quasi-independent agency, should continue as the ultimate administrator of all the Web's domains -- not only over ".com" but also the country-specific ones such as ".cn" for China.
At its essence, the struggle is over an information superstructure that is already the main conduit of world commerce. It is also about free speech and information control. The arbiters of Internet policy could profoundly shape international relations in coming years.
"I am torn about this, as I suspect many Internet law experts are. On the one hand, basic principles of international law suggest that a common carrier essential to commerce in all nations should be internationally controlled," said Frank Pasquale, a professor at Seton Hall Law School in Newark, N.J.
"On the other hand," Pasquale added, "many of the countries most eager to impose international control also have bad records on free speech issues, political prisoners."
The so-called World Summit on the Information Society was originally conceived to address the digital divide -- the gap between information haves and have-nots -- by raising both consciousness and funds for projects.
Instead, it has centered largely on Internet governance: oversight of the main computers that control traffic on the Internet by acting as its master directories so Web browsers and e-mail programs can find other computers.
Although the U.S. government has largely delegated management to a private organization with international board members, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, it has ultimate veto power over all decisions.
Washington set a course for confrontation when it declared over the summer that it will retain such oversight indefinitely, despite what many countries thought was a long-standing policy to one day completely turn the function over to ICANN.
The EU responded in September by insisting that some sort of new combination of governments and the private sector share the responsibility of policing the Internet. Before, the push for an international takeover of ICANN mostly came from such developing countries as Brazil, South Africa and China.
"Unilateral control by the U.S. government would be very sad," EU spokesman Martin Selmayr said. "They just have to give up their unilateral control and everything will be fine."
The reasons for resentment of U.S. control are numerous, beginning with objections to U.S. foreign policy.
On actual Internet-related issues, there's frustration that the countries that got online first -- the United States and western Europe, chiefly -- gobbled up most of the available addresses required for computers to connect, leaving developing nations with a limited supply to share.
There are also complaints that governments can't easily control their own domains -- changing administrators for country-code domains can take years.
Countries such as Pakistan, India and China and several in Africa -- where many potential users know little, if any, English -- want quicker approval for domain name suffixes in their languages, something on which ICANN is moving like molasses.
Nonetheless, much of the criticism of U.S. control is philosophical: If governments already handle public services such as delivering food and water, why should they cede something as important as the Internet to another country?
What critics seek varies and remains in many cases vague.
Some want an international body that would address issues ICANN doesn't currently oversee, plagues like spam and security. Others want ICANN or a replacement technical organization to answer not to the Commerce Department but to an international organ, possibly under the United Nations.
We built this one. They are free to build their own.
We control the net
We control the net
We control the net
Click this picture & go to the "last" for the latest UN scandals:
Gee...that's too bad.
Thank God the internet was created after Carter was president. He'd have given it away along with the Panama Canal!
Yep, go build your own if you don't like ours.
Oh No! Oh No! We must appease them now!!!
They hate us and want our stuff!
I'm sure the usual lefty groups here in the US would like to see this happen.
GEEZ! When I posted about this it was "Oh, this is no big deal."
Now you guys think it's a problem?
The UN is only good at corruption, rape and Anti-Semitism. Only Leftist scum would want them to control the 'Net. Thank God that neither AlGore or the, ahem, war hero were elected.
I have seen many of these type articles coming out lately. Even about half of those very liberals on /. think US control is the way to go.
But, one point that has not even been considered in this is taxation. If, somehow, the UN becomes controller of DNS, doesn't anyone think that not only will organizations, companies, and even countries be subjected to their governance (read censorship) but also their taxes?
UN: "I'm sorry FR.com (or even /.) you failed to meet our censorship guidelines and your overdue on your internet taxes..."
Gee, that's tough Marty. Now you and Tom Daschle can hang out and be sad together. We don't have to give up anything. Why don't you come and take it from us?
We developed the technology and we invested in and established the infrastructure. Invent your own damn Internet.
Screw 'em. Next!
As "The Great One" Mark Levin would say, "when they are annoyed, I'm happy"
Old Euros and the rest of the losers should invent a new way of sharing data...how about around a campfire or transcendental meditation with the dalai lama assisted by Richard "gerbil" Gere. Nations that support values of freedom should get priority when we decide to share the technology.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.