Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet The Media

ICANN Troubles At UN Summit On Internet 610

Posted by simoniker
from the kofi-and-elmo-presiding dept.
Internet Ninja writes "The UN/ITU-organized World Summit on the Information Society currently happening in Geneva, and in attendance is Paul Twomey from ICANN, who has been ejected from a preparatory meeting, along with all other non-governmental observers. Obviously Twomey wasn't happy about that, saying: 'At ICANN, anybody can attend meetings, appeal decisions or go to ombudsmen. And here I am outside a UN meeting room where diplomats, most of whom know little about the technical aspects, are deciding in a closed forum how 750 million people should reach the Internet. I am not amused.'" We've previously reported on this meeting, which may help decide governance of the Internet, albeit in the longer-term.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

ICANN Troubles At UN Summit On Internet

Comments Filter:
  • Sweet irony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vainglorious Coward (267452) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:21PM (#7685391) Journal
    deciding in a closed forum how 750 million people should reach the Internet.

    Unlike ICANN, who of course, have members of the internet at large on their board. Oh, wait a minute...

    • ICANN is a pain in da butt, and from what I recall is becoming more so with the outing of the "netizen representatives". *sigh* These tie wearing techno-nitwits are going to screw the system up good. ICANN, UN, whatever. If it is not built and run by geeks (read: technologically proficient) I have little faith that anything good will come of it, which brings me to the point.

      OpenNIC [unrated.net] is a geek run DNS system. Just change your DNS servers to point at theirs and go, or if you are a little more gung ho get yo
  • Typical... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cybrchrst (535172)
    That is unbelievable. When are these people going to realize that they need to get the input of someone that at least represents the people that they are going to 'govern'?? He's got a right to be pissed, and I would honestly be pissed too.
    • Re:Typical... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Snoopy77 (229731)
      When are these people going to realize that they need to get the input of someone that at least represents the people that they are going to 'govern'?

      Yeah but what does this has to do with ICANN? Oh, you thought ICANN represents the people, how quaint.
      • Re:Typical... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Geek of Tech (678002) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:39PM (#7685558) Homepage Journal
        >>> When are these people going to realize that they need to get the input of someone that at least represents the people that they are going to 'govern'?

        Forget people they will govern. At least get input from the people who know how it works. Try and put someone there that has any idea what the internet does. Someone that knows the boundaries of the technology. Not someone that knows the best way to tax people.

        • by dark404 (714846) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @08:38PM (#7685962)
          The thought of the UN trying to 'govern' the internet gives me the shivers. The delegates obviously do not understand the internet is not a single 'thing', it isn't something they can control. Can you imagine the UN trying to enforce its 'powers' over U.S. based ISPs? And you know they would try just to justify the UN's slipping significance. Can you imagine a conglomerate of government departments/staff from a multitude of countries, with DMV-style attitudes, sub-par technical skills, and differing political agendas establishing policies over the internet? We'd probably end up having to submit hard copy HTTP requests in triplicate, plus a $15 processing fee, 2-4 weeks in advance, to visit /. *gets out the tinfoil hat*
    • Re:Typical... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by atari2600 (545988)

      Would you be pissed?
      Or would you be pissed if you were not an American? and if you are not an American, you should have been pissed already in which can being peed upon twice makes no sense.

      Before you take arms in the typical slashdot manner, consider the key lines from the article:

      The move underscores the wrath of countries that for years have been unhappy with what they perceive as their voicelessness over how the Internet is run and over U.S. ownership of key Internet resources. It also foretells

    • by maleficus (731732) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:37PM (#7685549)
      someone that at least represents the people that they are going to 'govern'?? So send some middle school nerd with acne.
    • Re:Typical... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Performer Guy (69820) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:48PM (#7685618)
      Are you talking about ICANN or the UN. This is just ICANN getting a taste of what they've been dishing out to the rest of us. Yes it stinks but so does the way ICANN has behaved in the past.
    • by rm007 (616365) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @08:26PM (#7685876) Journal
      When are these people going to realize that they need to get the input of someone that at least represents the people that they are going to 'govern'??

      Oh they realize it all right, they even have a model for it - the International Labor Organization. It was formed as part of a burst of post WWI Wilsonian idealism and has a unique structure for an official internationla organization (and now forms part of the UN system). In addition to the government representatives, each country sends representatives from their business and union organizations - and these folks have full voting rights in the meetings and so can't be thrown out as "observers" can. Of course having set up one organization with a structure like this, the governments of this world have made sure never to do it again - why should the people who are actually involved in an issue area have any say when there is government to government horse trading to do. Much more convenient to have "observers" that they can lock out - which, of course is par for the course considering the track records on free speech and openness of most of the governments doing the talking.
    • Re:Typical... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by raju1kabir (251972) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @08:53PM (#7686057) Homepage
      That is unbelievable.

      It shouldn't be. There's a 10-ton clue that this kind of crap was going to be the order of the day: I-T-U.

      The ITU as an organization exists to promote the interests of state-owned telecommunications monopolies, which today are the province of repressive and dysfunctional governments. It is directly opposed to democracy, to open standards, and to anything that allows the internet to grow organically or in response to interests and technological developments that come from the ground up.

      I know of ordinarily-intelligent people with good net cred who are involved in this expense-account-blather-fest, and their crotches are so extravagantly tumescent at being taken seriously by people wearing expensive suits who ride black limos with diplomatic plates that they've totally lost the plot, signing their souls away to the devil. For Pete's sake, how low have we sunk when ICANN stands on the hilltop as our shining paragon of openness?

      The ITU has been trying to take over the internet ever since it hit the bigtime around 1994 (up intil then, they just dissed it). Just wait - once they take over, they'll close the standards process, charge huge licensing fees for anyone who talks TCP/IP, and do whatever they have to in order to ensure that "disruptive" technologies like tunneling no longer work.

      And then we'll have to start all over again and build a new internet, leaving them behind again, mark my words. What a huge flerkin waste of time.

  • Stupid White Men (Score:3, Informative)

    by rmdir -r * (716956) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:21PM (#7685397)
    Yet again, the people who use the technology have no control over the technology... a prime example of the folly of Mr. Moore's 'Stupid White Men'. Everyone at the conference should be tested before entering- they should all be able to figure out how to turn on a computer. Ick.
  • by NWRefund (723683) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:22PM (#7685405)
    Politicians, no matter which country they come from, are only concerned with their adgendas. Why would they want actual technical advice on this sort of topic? Look at it this way: if they come up with good ideas now, how are they supposed to claim success later on when they come up with better ones? But if they screw things up right off the bat, they can all point fingers and blame one another, then propose ways to "fix" things.
    • Politicians, no matter which country they come from, are only concerned with their adgendas.

      That's absolutely right, but there's nothing inherently wrong with being motivated by self interest. The danger comes when one individual tries to forcibly impose that self interest on another.

      This is why government must be strictly limited in scope, power, and expense (as the founders of the US intended). Individuals in government are motivated by self interest just like every other individual -- the difference

  • by pbranes (565105) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:23PM (#7685406)
    Unfortunately, the UN is about as anti-US as they come. The move to take control of the Internet goes along with the rest of the UN's practices - to break down boundaries of countries and slowly form a single world government. While that sounds like a good idea, the UN is a little too socialist for my likes. They openly state in their charter that all humans have certain rights, like freedom of speech, as long as using that right doesn't interfere with a stated goal of the UN. This will mean censorship of the Internet and probably will cause coutries to isolate themselves from the rest of the world to avoid the negative effects of a UN run Internet.
    • by TwistedSquare (650445) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:32PM (#7685504) Homepage
      It's just a tug-of-war between the US and the UN really. Sometimes the UN is wrong (as you mention), sometimes it's the US (war crimes tribunal etc).

      Incidentally what factors are making the UN look at taking over from ICANN?

    • UN/US (Score:2, Insightful)

      by glpierce (731733)
      "the UN is about as anti-US as they come"

      A few major players in the UN may be anti-US, but the effects are negligible; the US doesn't obey the UN/international treaties on issues the gov't feels would have a major negative (or prevent a major positive) impact on the country/economy (e.g. the Kyoto Protocol, Operation Iraqi Freedom, bioweapons).
    • Unfortunately, the US is about as anti-UN as they come. The move to take control of Iraq goes along with the rest of the US's practices - to break down boundaries of countries and slowly form a single worldwide US government. While that sounds like a good idea, the US is a little too imperialist for my likes. They openly state in their charter that all humans have certain rights, like freedom of speech, as long as using that right doesn't interfere with a stated goal of the US. This will mean chaos in Iraq
      • Ahhh the fine lines between +1 funny, +1 insightful and -1 flamebait. I dance on the tightropes of /. moderation.

      • This will mean chaos in Iraq and probably will cause countries to isolate themselves from the rest of the world to avoid the negative effects of a US run Iraq

        Remember the alternative was an Iraq run by Saddam. One can make a strong arguments pro- and con- the U.S. invasion of Iraq, but to suggest that the world would be better off with Saddam running things is a rather extraodinarily presumption.

        Many in Europe thought Hilter was doing a good (shudder) job running Germany, too, and would have complained th

    • I agree that the UN runnning the Internet is not a good thing, but I don't know how much power they can have on the internet. Most of the infrastructure is on private hands, at the United States, and they can't do anything about it. They can create problems to connect the american networks to those on other countries, but I bet nobody wants to disconnect from the United States and from the rest of the world.
    • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:44PM (#7685590) Homepage
      The UN has alot of problems, many of which seem to defy logic. For example, where but in the UN security counsel is 1 person out of 9 a majority that can stop ANYTHING that's going on?

      Where but the UN can countries with tons of human rights violations be on and chair commities to end human rights violations? (Iraq was going to be on it or chair it soon before we removed Saddam from power). Maybe the US should follow their leadership and put serial killers incharge of the courts and molesters in charge of counseling sex-abuse victims.

      And I won't go into how the members of the UN aren't elected and are appointed and aren't out to better the world but (usually) to their country. This has already been pointed out by other posters.

      Really we shouldn't even WORRY about the UN taking over the internet. If how they handeled Iraq is any indication, then we can just ignore whatever rules they invent forever and unless another country decides to enforce things, nothing will every happen to us.

      The League of Nations (doesn't that sound like it's from a comic book?) was destroyed becaused it didn't prevent Hitler from taking power and causing things like WWII (which it was supposed to). The UN failed to stop Saddam from all the things he did to his people and others, and with the rest of their oddball rules and complaints of useless things and hipocritical actions, I don't think they'll be around for long either (or at least they will lose what little power they have left). Instead they charge us dues and tons of money to do next to nothing but waste it on burocracy. And then what happenes when their building is old and needs to be replaced or fixed? They demand that the US builds them a new one FOR FREE, because all that money they collect is needed to swim in (or something). Personally, I hope the UN building is declared unfit for occupancy and they are forced to move to some other country (France, Germany, you guys have any openings?).

      PS: I'm sure you get it by now, but I'm a bit of a critic of the UN.

      PPS: If by some miracle the UN DOES take over the 'net, I would support building a NEW internet that was controlled by someone else (private institutions like Universities or even the US Government) so the UN can't decide to take it over and we can do things like we do now (or better! Ham radio type licenses to use the new 'net or at least to post to it).

      PPPS: I'm out of PSes. :)

      • The UN has alot of problems, many of which seem to defy logic. For example, where but in the UN security counsel is 1 person out of 9 a majority that can stop ANYTHING that's going on?

        The UN was formed in 1945. The Soviets were in Berlin, the US was preparing for an invasion of Japan. In this context, a lot of stuff about the organization of the UN should make more sense. The true power is vested in the Security Council where the super powers can keep each other in check.

        The security council is the o

      • by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @08:38PM (#7685963) Journal
        For example, where but in the UN security counsel is 1 person out of 9 a majority that can stop ANYTHING that's going on?

        How about letting Libya hold the chairmanship of the human rights commission?

        The UN has been a joke for a very long time.

        -jcr
    • by Draxinusom (82930) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @08:05PM (#7685729)

      to break down boundaries of countries and slowly form a single world government
      Sorry, but your understanding of the U.N. is completely ignorant and wrong, and I say that as a critic of the U.N. First of all, it's ludicrous to speak of the U.N. as having its own goals and agenda; the Secretary-General has no actual authority, and every decision is made at the whim of the permanent members of the Security Council.

      The problem with the U.N. is not that it doesn't respect its members' sovereignty but the exact opposite: that it places members' sovereignty above such goals as peace or justice. That's why the U.N. was completely ineffective in stopping the genocide in Rwanda, why the Clinton administration had to go to NATO to intervene in the Balkans, and why the U.N. vigorously opposed the war in Iraq; in each case, it was terrified of stepping on the toes of sovereign states (even when those states were killing their own or another state's citizens) or offending the sensibilities of its members.

      Think of it this way: if you were going to set up one world government, would you set it up so that resolutions could be vetoed by any single member of the Security Council? The idea of the U.N. as the coming of one world government is a canard perpetuated by isolationists and politicians who want to make hay out of jingoism. I am constantly amazed at people who resent the U.N. "taking over the world" yet have nothing to say about the WTO or World Bank, which actually do march into and completely reorganize entire countries (and even manage to make U.S. policy, as Bush's reversal on steel tariffs shows).
      • That, as you correctly pointed out, the UN is NOT a world government. They have no real authority to do anything. Basically it's a forum for nations to try to come to an agreement, but with little that can be done if a minority says no and does their own thing.

        The problem from this is then that so many people, including many of the UN diplomats, feel that they ARE a world government, and should be allowed to impose their will. Like claims that the US and crew went against the UN on the war with Iraq. Well
    • They openly state in their charter that all humans have certain rights, like freedom of speech, as long as using that right doesn't interfere with a stated goal of the UN.

      Talk about the pot calling the kettle black; subsitute US for UN and it that sentence still makes perfect sense. At least the UN works (ignoring the security council here) by the concensus of the majority, unlike the nation who has the guy who almost got a concensus of those who can be bothered voting that make up an only just majority o

    • They openly state in their charter that all humans have certain rights, like freedom of speech, as long as using that right doesn't interfere with a stated goal of the UN

      No they don't. Are you misunderstanding what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is saying or are you just lying. To make such a broad statement you need to be able to point out which part of the Charter supports you.

      Article 19. of the UDHR states that

      Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right include

  • Who is there? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:23PM (#7685412)
    I found this interesting

    Top biggest delegates in the World Summit on the Information Society:

    1. Malaysia 137
    2. Romania 116
    3. France 108
    4. Canada 101
    5. Cuba 88
    6. Japan 85
    7. Russia 80
    8. Iran 79
    9. Nigeria 69
    10. Gabon 66

    They should just make their own internet if they want exclusive control. Ther nothing prohibiting them from doing this.
    • Re:Who is there? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Cosmik (730707)
      66 from Gabon? Sheeesh. No intended offence to the Gabonese (?), but why so many from a country with a population of only 1.3 million? The trip was a good excuse to do some Christmas shopping in Europe?
    • by switcha (551514) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @08:03PM (#7685707)
      8. Iran 79
      9. Nigeria 69
      10. Gabon 66

      You know those Nigerians are only there to find some people to help them move a substantial amount of money out of the country...

  • Can't blame them... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by falxx (456915) <falxx@noxtensio n . c om> on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:24PM (#7685423) Journal
    I don't remember where I read it, but MIT actually has more IP's than the whole of China... If you still don't catch the drift, well, then I don't really know...

    Seems futile anyways, weren't they(UN) going to only appoint some group that was going to watch ICANN, and their motives? (:
  • Poor old ICANN... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rcs1000 (462363) * <(rcs1000) (at) (gmail.com)> on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:26PM (#7685434)
    It's funny, I don't often feel sorry for ICANN. Along with the bulk of /.'ers I've found them heavy handed and only occasionally democratic. Mind you, they're better than some... but that's another story altogether.

    That said, they don't deserve this. They are an NGO with an expertise. Not being interested in their opinion, or even giving them a glimpse of how and why decisions are made is worrying to the extreme.

    On the positive side, this UN conference seems pretty unlikely to do anything. Mugabe (the "elected" President of Zimbabwe) has already used it to rail against such horrible (liberal, Western, bourgeois) things such as a free press. (http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=tec hnologyNews&storyID=3972352&src=eDialog/GetContent &section=news)

    Let us not forget either; it's probably more important to bring clean drinking water and telephones to developing nations than Google and Slashdot.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:26PM (#7685435)
    If they make a decision you don't like, you ignore it.
  • by reallocate (142797) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:26PM (#7685439)
    The UN lacks the authority to regulate the Internet. It is a non-democratic organization comprised of unelected diplomatic representatives, a number of whom do the bidding of unfree regimes that want to block and censor the Internet. They claim to do this in the interest of preventing pollution of their culture by outsiders, but, in reaity, they are merely seeking to all possible means of internal dissent. (For examples, Iran and China.)

    • by JeffSh (71237) <jeffslashdotNO@SPAMm0m0.org> on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:35PM (#7685524)
      one important ommitance is saudi arabia.

      they are the same if not worse than iran and china.
    • Sure. You're right. But that didn't stop them from kidnapping Milosovic and putting him on trial.

      The UN thinks they are the rightful rulers of the big blue marble. They think that they are right and that everyone else is wrong and that they make the rules that everyone else must abide by. NATO is the enforcement arm of the UN.

      They'll do as they please. The NEW WORLD ORDER is what they are about.

    • I don't really have a problem with the UN (or another international body) handling basic things like overall regulation of the DNS, routing tables, etc. The Internet needs this minimum level of governance just to function and, speaking as a non-US resident, the fact that my elected government has a seat at the UN gives me more of a say than ICANN (a creature of US law and regulation) presently does.

      The bad news would be if this were used as a springboard to get into other areas of regulation (e.g. censorsh

    • by nyquist_theorem (262542) <{mbelleghem} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @02:41AM (#7687808) Homepage
      I think you're missing a lot of the point here. The UN is non-democratic insofar as your country's delegate was not DIRECTLY elected by you, but how many americans voted for Donald Rumsfeld or Colin Powell? (hint - none, they were appointed). UN delegations are similarly appointed by the governments they represent. In many countries (ie Canada, Australia, the UK) the Prime Ministers are not elected by the people at all - and yet the people of those countries don't seem to consider their leadership undemocratically elected! (insert obligatory dubya joke here)

      As for the rest of what you're saying regarding how a number of regimes want to block and censor the internet, I think you've been watching too much fox news. The vast majority of UN members want the internet to be as free and as accessible as possible because it is such a catalyst for economic growth. The views of Iran, China, and Saudi Arabia regarding internet censorship are definitely in the minority.
  • by herrvinny (698679) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:27PM (#7685448)
    from the kofi-and-elmo-presiding dept.

    Personally, I'd prefer it if Elmo was presiding. Elmo makes more sense than all the diplomats put together.
  • by pegr (46683) *
    So what if the UN decides it owns the Internet? It's not like they can do anything about it! What are they going to do, take it? The US is the military of the UN (unfortunately). I say let the UN make dumb pronouncements and let them fade into obscurity all the sooner, corrupt bastards...
  • by Entrope (68843) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:28PM (#7685461) Homepage
    Each of the world's five continents would have one elected representative on the committee, elected by the countries from the continent they represent.
    Okay, I can understand leaving out Antarctica, but who gets to break the news to Australia that their continent has been demoted and made subservient to Asia?
  • by illumin8 (148082) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:28PM (#7685465) Journal
    Pot... Kettle.... "Black!"
  • by jdhutchins (559010) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:29PM (#7685470)
    We need to pull another Iraq on the UN.
    UN: "Hand over control of the internet to us (the un), and take it away from icann."
    Bush (or whoever's president at the time) needs to say "Screw you. No."

    We've done it before, no reason why we can't do it again. I'll bet that almost every ./er know more about how the internet is run and works than all the dipomats combined.
    • by MochaMan (30021) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:36PM (#7685543) Homepage
      And Americans wonder why they have such a rotten reputation worldwide...

      Goodbye karma!
      • by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @08:04PM (#7685719) Journal
        And why should we hand over what control we have on the internet to others? Nothing is stoping them from building their own TCP/IP internetwork.
      • by donutello (88309) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @08:26PM (#7685879) Homepage
        And Americans wonder why they have such a rotten reputation worldwide...

        The internet was created by the US, in the US. The UN now wants to take control of something they did nothing to create. Now you understand why the UN (and Europe) has such a rotten reputation in the US.

        Goodbye karma!

        It's very interesting to see how mods go based on the time of day. Right now, about 5pm PST, most of Europe is asleep and the mods on this thread are distinctly anti-UN. Were this story posted a few hours later - when most of the US is asleep and Europeans have just woken up, the moderation would be decidedly anti-American.
        • The postal system was created by the UK, in the UK. The rest of the world wants to take control of something they did nothing to create.

        • The internet was created by the US, in the US.

          Yeah! I always knew Al Gore was good for something!
      • Ummmmm no (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770)
        You see the Internet isn't really ruled by the US. There is nothing stopping any nation or any person from doing things there own way. Don't like ICANN and the roots? Setup your own DNS root servers. It not only can be done, it HAS been done. OpenNIC is a great example (www.opennic.unrated.net). They run their own roots and offer TLDs that ICANN does not. You, your country or block of countries is free to do the same.

        Same thing for the network at large. No one says your IP based network has to connect to t
    • by Anonymous Coward
      There's a reason the US has a reputation for breaking its treaties, and that would not help matters. Abiding by the decisions of the UN is what we agreed to do when we ratified the UN Charter (which is really just a multilateral treaty).

      Don't think we should listen to the UN? Fine. Then we should pull out of the UN, or we're in violation of our treaty obligations. But UN-bashers like Bush, etc, wouldn't dare do that because even though ignoring the UN makes us look like a bunch of treacherous backstabb
  • Great Description (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eberlin (570874) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:31PM (#7685489) Homepage
    "diplomats, most of whom know little about the technical aspects, are deciding in a closed forum how 750 million people should reach the Internet."

    Doesn't this pretty much describe just about every IT department known to man? PHBs and suits making uneducated decisions on how things will run based on buzzwords, corporate kickbacks, and their own job security while those who DO know what they're doing get ignored or brushed aside.

    Welcome to IT, dude.
  • by DougJohnson (595893) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:33PM (#7685515)
    It's highly unlikely that these delegates will be discussing which technologies to support and whatnot. It seems much more likely that they'll be considering means of legislating abuse of the system , how technology impacts national/international laws, and what to do when these laws are breached.

    I think that's an admirable thing, and it's time for some international co-operation regarding persuing SPAMers, Hackers, and other individuals that would use the lack of international legislation to perpetrate their nastiness.

    I hope you've all read yesterdays post about security breaches. The author found linkages between no less than 4 countries hosting servers in order to send out SPAM.
  • Behind the scenes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cluge (114877) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:35PM (#7685526) Homepage
    One of the top countries pushing for UN control over the Internet is China. You know the country that has it's own firewall to help them government sniff out subversives. I guess actually having someone in a prepatory meeting that believes in free speech and open elections was a problem.


    Finally there are a few EU countries (France) that really like the idea as well. They want to protect their innocent youngsters from "American Culture which is so pervasive on the Internet". The gentleman from ICANN wasn't a native French speaker, he definitely shouldn't be allowed to participate.


    The Internet is a wonderful experiment, but it is almost entirely dominated by the US, and the english language. That rubs many the wrong way. I'd am VERY suspicious of such meetings, the motives behind them dont seem very "egalitarian". They are self serving, and mostly trying to prevent the free exchange of ideas IMHO.

    Angry People Rule [angrypeoplerule.com]

    • by stwrtpj (518864)
      Finally there are a few EU countries (France) that really like the idea as well. They want to protect their innocent youngsters from "American Culture which is so pervasive on the Internet". The gentleman from ICANN wasn't a native French speaker, he definitely shouldn't be allowed to participate.

      Didn't France try to sue Ebay in the US courts because they refused to block Nazi paraphrenalia from being sold? Ebay had already, I believe, pulled the items from ebay.fr, but France insisted Ebay find a way to b

  • It's about time! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:35PM (#7685530)
    Verisign has a monopoly on root servers. Where does that come from?

    MIT has more public IP addresses than China. Where does that come from?

    ICANN is chartered as a non-profit California-based corporation. Why should it be so? Why California, why not Peru or Japan or Spain? Is there something fundamentally Californian about today's Internet?

    It's about time that the public resource constituted by Internet addresses and DNS servers be handled by a truly international standards body, just like it's the case for telephone numbering.

    Thanks to the US for creating many of the technologies that make the Internet possible. But as is the case with the phone numbering plan, it's time for the Public International Internet to be managed more openly and cooperatively.
    • by El (94934) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @10:01PM (#7686471)
      The US government spent US citizens tax dollars to develop the internet (TCP/IP was a DARPA research project.) Why then should they turn control of the internet over to a bunch of stuffed shirts you did nothing to help create it?
      • The rest of the world couldn't care less if this or that DoD Cold War project, where millions upon millions of US tax dollars were dumped, turned out to be a good idea after all.

        Can the US afford, at this point, to be left taliking with itself? Really? How would all the American companies exproting jobs, plants and projects talk to their slavas, I mean, contractors across the world? By phone? No, that is regulated by the same body discussing the Internet now...Are the US interested in an American only netw
  • enforceability? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hollins (83264) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:36PM (#7685537) Homepage
    In the articles I've read, I haven't seen mention of how the UN expects to have its claimed governance of the internet acknowledged by current authorities.

    If the UN claimed governance of the airwaves, wouldn't the FCC simply laugh? I realize that the FCC is a national body and ICANN is international, but unless the UN plans to set up its own root servers and coerce everyone to use them, how will this be enforced?

    Can anyone comment on this?
    • Re:enforceability? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Zeinfeld (263942) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:41PM (#7685568) Homepage
      If the UN claimed governance of the airwaves, wouldn't the FCC simply laugh?

      No, the US has ceeded the cross-border allocation of frequencies to the ITU before the UN was established and the ITU has since been incorporated into the UN.

      I spoke to Esther Dyson about the conference at lunch today, her version was nothing happened and that the best result that was going to happen...

  • by Radical Rad (138892) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:36PM (#7685539) Homepage
    Paul Twomey from ICANN, who has been ejected from a preparatory meeting, along with all other non-governmental observers.

    Then Paul Twomey should send Kofi Annan a 200 foot high message [wired.com] through the Hello World project [helloworldproject.com]. Here are webcam pics of the four displays [helloworldproject.com] in different parts of the world. One is in Geneva.

  • F.E.T.E. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dfenstrate (202098) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <etartsnefd>> on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:39PM (#7685559)
    The UN can hold all the meetings it wants about taking control of the internet, but in the end, this will probably occur:

    UN: The communities of the world have decided that it's best we run the internet. We demand control.

    USA: Demand? How bout this, you go fuck yourself, and maybe we'll allow the UN to exist for a few more years.

    What are they gonna do, take it by force?

    I'm no fan of ICANN, but ICANN is better than the UN. Last thing we need is the chinese fire wall on a global scale.

    Fuck 'em. The End.
    • Re:F.E.T.E. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Paul Jakma (2677)
      What are they gonna do, take it by force?

      What is anybody going to do? The internet is not controlled by a single entity, the internet is merely the largest collection of individual networks which inter-connect with each other, by means of consensus based standards. Not even the USA federal authorities control the internet, least no more than the power they can hold over the companies which operate internet connected networks in the USA itself.

      There's plenty of internet outside of the USA, and new DNS ro
    • Re:F.E.T.E. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by martin-boundary (547041) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @10:49PM (#7686776)
      Easy. Set up a few official UN DNS root servers, and get the local ISPs to use them (that's easy too. Just enact a law in each country that the providers have to use them - since the politicians want this UN control, they'll be happy to enact a few laws).

      Suddenly if you don't use the UN DNS, you'll be cutting yourself off of half the world's customers.

  • As opposed to? (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by SuperBanana (662181)
    And here I am outside a UN meeting room where diplomats, most of whom know little about the technical aspects, are deciding in a closed forum how 750 million people should reach the Internet.

    As opposed to politicians and diplomats, most of whom know little about anything save how to kiss lobbyist/mafia/dictator ass and keep their job, deciding how billions of people should live their lives?

    In the US, have you ever noticed that most of your government representatives are, to quote Dilbert, Dumb As Toast?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @07:42PM (#7685581)
    To the stupid posts above mentioning that "diplomats" are not competent to handle the technical issues: diplomats are there to focus on the process, not the specifics.

    ITU (this is a UN-ITU joint summit, isn't it?) is perfectly competent to handle the technical issues linked with numbering and naming. They do it very well already for the phone [itu.int] and for a portion of the OID tree [alvestrand.no].
    • At least partially true. Rather than describing the ITU themselves as being technically competent, I might be inclined to say that many of the large companies where the technical work is actually done are quite competent. The official US representative to the ITU is from the State Department. Much (most?) of the technical work that they take to the ITU is done by large corporations -- in the telephony field, companies like Lucent and AT&T.

      OTOH, the ITU took their best shot at establishing a data comm

  • by prozac79 (651102) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @08:13PM (#7685787)
    we'll all be talking about this old network called "The Internet". We'll talk about how cool it was before the UN and an bunch of delegates came in and screwed it up. Historians will look back and trace why exactly the Internet fell. It will look something like this:
    2005: Having survived the bad press, the RIAA and the MPAA split off into their own countries, gained admission to the UN, and outlawed the use of any digital music or video across a network.
    2007: The world, angry at the U.S.A. for their 3rd war with Iraq, put sanctions on the U.S.'s use of the world wide web.
    2008: After a year of web sanctions, the U.S. launches a military campaign on Malaysia since they had the most votes for the U.S. sanctions. This brings the number of current U.S. military campaigns to 10.
    2010: The countries of RIA and MPA (remember, they dropped that last "A" back in 2005) successfully defeat the U.S. whose military was spread really thin due to their most recent war with England.
    2012: The RIA, now the most powerful member of the U.N., indefinitely bans all world-wide Internet use since they are still complaining that artists are not getting paid for their work.
    2014: The Open Source community, fresh off a victory against SCO, start building their own network called "Linet". It goes live with 30 million users connecting to it within the first 24 hours.
    2015: "Linet" achieves self-awareness and launches an attack against the humans... the end.
  • by km790816 (78280) <wqhq3gx02@@@sneakemail...com> on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @08:21PM (#7685846)
    It's an agreement, it's not a thing.

    What the Internet Is and How to Stop Mistaking It for Something Else. [worldofends.com] - Must read for any person that cares about technology.

    If they don't like the DNS system, they don't have to use it. Same for HTTP. Same for TCP. Whatever.

    ICANN can continue to define the standards and American companies will continue to implement them. Do you think people in France will be thrilled when France decides to do something different? That they can no longer access all the other sites.

    Who needs global standards when you have defacto standards.
  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @08:36PM (#7685945) Journal
    So, the UN guys decide whatever they want to decide, and we still use BIND and connect to whatever root servers we want to use.

    All the bureacrats in the world can't change what we actually run on our machines.

    -jcr
  • facinating (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Vlion (653369) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @08:42PM (#7685985) Journal
    Interesting. There are only 3 or so countries there that form a appreciable online presence. France, Canada, and Japan. Of those, Japan has the most right to speak on the internet: they do the most out of all three. In raw numbers, the US, Japan, Britain, Germany and perhaps Canada are the people who should run the Internet. Sorry, but thats how democracy works. Definatly Africa and the South Pacific Islands are not large presences online. Why should Iran dictate internet protocol? Their track record for technology alone is excrable, not to mention their extremly democratic society. *hem hem* Anyway, the pols will always win any fight that they are allowed to get a foothold into. Thats the nature of beauracrats; they want power. So the best thing is not to let it get into political hands(slimy things that they are).
  • by trystanu (691619) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @10:03PM (#7686478) Homepage
    The meeting will address four topics: Internet governance, the use of excess bandwidth to help development, connecting more people to communications networks and finding the appropriate technologies. At the heart of each of the four discussions will be the question of what role government and intragovernmental agencies should play.

    So they're trying to facilitate all these aspects. I now everyone is a bit worried about issue 1, governance. Fair enough. But every other issue they are discussing is good. And if they can address them in a global manner they may well improve the digital world.

    Back to issue 1, just forget for a minute any preconceptions you have about how crap you think the UN is, or how lame dipomats are and read and think about what the meeting is for:

    1) The fact that ICANN runs the Internet's address system is not necessarily good. They are a private company, why should they be in charge of all the addresses? Should MIT *really* have more IP addresses than China?

    2) If you're talking about human rights violations, why isn't having the UN excerting some pressure on nations where connections are firewalled to *not* monitor Internet connections good? (they may not be out to impose chinese firewalls on the rest of the world, perhaps they don't want china to run the firewall they do)

    3) Of all the people who are supposedly at the meeting (including Tim B-L, Nicholas Negroponte, Esther Dyson) don't you think it's a bit weird that there's such a fuss because they kicked out the ICANN guy. I don't think this is a major conspiracy, it's just a conflict of interest having them there.

    The UN might be spineless, and this whole meeting will probably amount to nothing, but I don't think everyone should be rubbishing it so much. The UN isn't out to make life tough for everyone, and they do have some admirable goals.
  • by wytcld (179112) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @10:32PM (#7686614) Homepage
    Only corporations which successfully order their governments to support the American war on terror will be allowed to do business on tomorrow's Internet. Anything else is a security risk.

    However, we must make some concessions to China, so that the workers making 65% of their exports to America who are working directly for American corporations don't get wrong ideas, and subvert Wal-Mart's (which sells 20% of our imports from China) security.

    [And the banner says: "Exclusive: Microsoft's new security strategy."]
  • by crush (19364) on Wednesday December 10, 2003 @11:34PM (#7687038)

    is available at his blog on O'Reilly [oreillynet.com]. It points out that there is supposed to be no organization with power over the internet and that ICANN has always claimed just to be a sort of "technical facilitator". It mentions the Open Root Server Coalition [open-rsc.org] and although it doesn't mention the OpenNIC [unrated.net] guys, it's worth having a look at their more serious project.

    I notice a lot of fighting in the comments about whether the UN sucks or not and whether they're worse than ICANN. Simple fact of the matter is that neither of these bodies (or any body that isn't truly democratic) should have any control over OUR internet. Fighting over which master we bow to is a bit ridiculous.

  • by Huusker (99397) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @12:38AM (#7687359) Homepage
    As a practical matter nobody "governs" the Internet. Historically there was a time back in the late 1980s when it was possible that AOL or CompuServe or some other gigantic service provider might have bought out everyone else and become the de-facto monopolist on internetworking. But thankfully it never happened.

    The only other genuine threat to the Internet also occured in the late 1980s, when the Europe and the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) tried to replace the Internet TCP/IP communicaton protocol standards with something called OSI/TP4/X25. Basically it was an attempt by the world PTT (Postal, Telegraph, and Telephone) monopolies to wrest control of the Internet out of the hands of the US government. The PTT monopolies are especially strong in the 3rd world countries and they dominate the ITU, which sets world telephone standards.

    The ITU is a big reason why phone calls to 3rd world countries are so ridiculously expensive. The bureaucracy of the ITU is Kafka-esque: The OSI documents for TP4/X25 are written in uncomprehensible legalese and you must pay through the nose just to peek at them. (This was one reason why OSI failed - TCP/IP was evangelized through the wide distribution of the source code of BSD Unix; OSI had no equivalent.)

    If the EU/ITU/UN had taken over the Internet 15-20 years ago with OSI/TP4/X25, today instead of paying $29.95/month for your megabit DSL you would be paying ten times that amount for your X25/ISDN connection at 64kps.

    But this is all on the dustbin of history. The war is over and decentralization has won. The modern Internet is a concatenation of millions of independent networks that all agree to talk to each other voluntarily (the word "Internet" comes from the term "inter-network"). World connectivity happens through an untold number of independent bi-lateral contractual agreements between peering ISPs.

    The only centralization on the Internet is at the root DNS nameservers. These suffer ICANN only by the grace of their respective independent owners. (The largest owner of root nameservers being the US Department of Commerce.) There is nothing to prevent them from bolting and setting up their a new root DNS, or from anyone else using an alternet root DNS.

    The transnational progressives and lefty social engineers can chit-chat all they want at their UN workshops about how they want to govern the Internet. But as a practical matter it is a waste of hot air. Kind of like meeting to create World Peace or end World Hunger. The real world just doesn't work that way.

This login session: $13.76, but for you $11.88.

Working...