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July 01, 2005

US decides to not hand over control of the internet to UN

From India Daily:

[Michael D Gallagher, assistant secretary for communications and information at the US Commerce Department] said the declaration was in response to growing security threats and increased reliance on the Internet globally for communications and commerce.

The computers in question serve as the Internet's master directories and tell Web browsers and e-mail programmes how to direct traffic. Internet users around the world interact with them every day, likely without knowing it. Policy decisions could at a stroke make all Web sites ending in a specific suffix essentially unreachable.

Though the computers themselves - 13 in all, known as "root" servers - are in private hands, they contain government-approved lists of the 260 or so Internet suffixes, such as ". In 1998, the Commerce Department selected a private organisation with international board members, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), to decide what goes on those lists. Commerce kept veto power, but indicated it would let go once ICANN met a number of conditions.

Thursday's declaration means Commerce would keep that control, regardless of whether and when those conditions are met.

Sonia Joshi, the author of the editorial in India Daily made the following observation:

The decision can be good and bad. ... The bad side of this that America ignored calls by some countries to turn the function over to an international body. But the good side is that America is and will be the best protector and supervisor of these computers given the cyber security threats.

It seems these foreign publications don't automatically assume America is evil, the way so many publication here in America do. That's refreshing. The truth is, Americans like freedom and as long as America is in control of the internet it will remain free. The internet is more fun, the more people that are on it. Unlike Communist China which censors internet access to its prisoners...er...citizens (which also has a powerful voice in the UN) the US has left the internet free and open. Would we really want some kind of perverted “Commission” like the UN Commission of Human Rights (which has some of the world's worst human rights violators as its members) to oversee the internet?

Posted by Danny Carlton at July 1, 2005 08:42 AM

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