Monday, November 14, 2005


Wednesday the UN holds a meeting in Tunis where it seeks to create a platform to wrest control of the Internet Domain system from a small non-profit in Southern California.

While granting that ICANN has been and currently does not, in any way shape or form, base its decisions on world politics or economics, the UN is uneasy at the thought of one country hosting and sanctioning the organization that, in effect, doles out the addresses for the world.

The core issue is, of course, freedom of information and speech.

But the prime mover of the effort to get control away from the US is, interestingly, China. Which, by the way, exerts the greatest effort to LIMIT its own citizens in what they can post and read on the net. Others are Iran and various smaller Asian and middle eastern countries, none of which can be said to exactly encourage unlimited net access for their own.

Naturally, this has become political. And a way to bash Bush.

UN fights US over internet's future
By Rupert Cornwell

At least until very recently, the hand of its host Government in ICANN's workings has been undetectable. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," is the mantra in Washington, and it is hard to disagree.

A UN solution, moreover, contains further dangers, American backers of the status quo argue. The internet has been a tool for free expression and democracy the world over. Ominously, among the countries pressing most strongly for a more internationalised and governmentalised structure are such beacons of liberty as China, Iran and Saudi Arabia, all concerned to limit the flow of information to their restless citizens.

Then there is the instinctive dislike of America's Republican establishment for the UN and all its works. On the arch-conservative editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal this week, Norm Coleman, the Republican senator for Minnesota, wrote of a possible "digital Munich" in Tunis.

"The internet faces a grave threat," warned Coleman, who has built his political career in Washington on UN-bashing. "We must defend it ... we cannot allow the UN to control the internet."

- Roger Cornwell, originally in the UK Independent which is certainly 'progressive' (currently same as 'anti-US') in its world view.

What he sees as UN bashing, some might see as simply trying to eliminate the demostrated pervasive corruption within. But that doesnt matter in the Progressive view... it's the thought that counts!

Here's another article on it
"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, New Jersey.

"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. {italics mine}

Instead, it has centered largely around Internet governance: oversight of the main computers that control traffic on the Internet by acting as its master directories so Web browsers and email programs can find other computers.
And there we have the nut of the issue! The original agenda was, in itself, over a REALLY tough problem to solve. But the NEW agenda is pretty damn straightforward... all these tinpots can agree that the US is the bad guy. So let's haggle over ways to get some of his power neutered.

And, once that is done, the UN can put fees and kickback mechanisms in place that will help fund the former.

Here's a test on who should run the DNS...
* Which of those countries trying to get/retain control would have allowed the Internet to proceed as it has?
* Which of those countries has more people trying to get INTO it, than trying to get OUT?

Not to mention which country invented it in the first place.

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