Senator Norm Coleman today submitted a statement into the Congressional Record denouncing a final report issued by the United Nations’ Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) suggesting that the U.N. assume global governance of the Internet. Since its inception and creation in the United States, the U.S. has assumed the historic role of overseeing the Internet’s growth and has overseen its development. The U.N. taskforce report suggests that in addition to terminating the U.S.’s leadership role, the authority and functions of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit organization overseen by the U.S. Department of Commerce, should be transferred as well. Senator Coleman strongly opposes these measures.
..."Putting the U.N. in charge of one of the world’s most important technological wonders and economic engines is out of the question. This proposal would leave the United States with no more say over the future of the Internet than Cuba or China -- countries that have little or no commitment to the free flow of information."
At the start of July, the U.S. announced that it would retain control over domain name servers -- the computers that sort out "threewaynews.blogspot.com" into a computer-understandable address. The United Nations Working Group on Internet Governance objects to the fact that U.S. has sole control over Internet addresses. The U.S. has shown no willingness to share any control over the Internet.
Coleman's response is that the only way to preserve a democratic Internet is if the United States exercises autocratic control over international communications.
Well, I'm not a fan of Norm but I think he's on to something here. It's too easy for someone controlling the names to control the content, and I trust the US much much more than China or anyone else. It's the old adage: "If it aint broke, don't fixe it."
By 4:49 PM, at
Pardon me: Aint probably has an apostrophe, and fix doesn't have an extra (or any) e.
By 4:51 PM, at
RR, have you ever thought about doing your own blog? I know it might not fit in with a jet-set life style but the blog world has so many voices on the left and the right that it might be fun to have a moderate out there too.
There are centrist blogs. Finding one, though, is like stumbling across a thought-to-be-extinct woodpecker.
On the substance: the EU, Brazil, and China are all complaining about ICANN now. Some people -- including close allies and trading partners -- think ICANN is broken. I don't enough to say whether their complaints are valid.
On the other hand, the Internet is internationally important. One country probably shouldn't dominate it. It's too easy to disregard concerns about localization issues -- like right to left text or deciding which characters fit in UTF-8 (which aren't ICANN issues, but are internationalization issues from other contexts). The UN report, among other things, urges for more transparency in decision making, which is almost always a positive.
As soon as I find that damn woodpecker, I'll take up blogging.
By 9:31 AM, at << Home