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ITU Meeting May Decide Governance of the Net 135

NickFitz writes "The Register has an article on the forthcoming World Summit on the Information Society, organised by the International Telecommunications Union. It seems that the United States, Europe and English-speaking partners are happy to let ICANN carry on running the show, while developing nations would prefer control to be handed over to the ITU. As the second stage of the process isn't due until November 2005, it could be some time before we see any changes."
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ITU Meeting May Decide Governance of the Net

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  • by grub ( 11606 ) <> on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:02PM (#7550191) Homepage Journal

    I don't care if it's ICANN or ITU so long as it doesn't interfere with availability of the .cx TLD.
    • by arivanov ( 12034 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:18PM (#7550300) Homepage
      Well you should. Find anything by the ITU that is free. Even standards.
      • That's not really the ITU's fault. Their only income is selling their standards. In the past, that worked out really well for them, since the only people who were interested in the standards were big telcos, who just considered it the cost of doing business.
        • by arivanov ( 12034 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:43PM (#7550468) Homepage
          Well... And nowm, do you expect anyone but the telcos to participate in an internet run by the ITU? 'cause I do not. It will just become yet another phone system regulated to death and used to feed a few incumbents in a few years time.
          • The phone system may be regulated to death, but it's never been the ITU that's done that. The phone system is regulated by individual governments, most of whom (the US and Canada being exceptions) took it as far as owning the telephone systems in the past.

            The ITU really isn't much more than a standards setting body. It is, however, an important one because ultimately the Canadian system has to be able to talk to the Irish system, the French to the Australian, the Cambodian to the Mexican, and without an i

            • by Zeinfeld ( 263942 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:59PM (#7550680) Homepage
              The ITU really isn't much more than a standards setting body. It is, however, an important one because ultimately the Canadian system has to be able to talk to the Irish system, the French to the Australian, the Cambodian to the Mexican, and without an impartial, respected, body in place that represents the technical interests of the industry as a whole, such a thing isn't going to work very well if at all.

              Actually its more than that. The ITU has been incorporated into the United Nations (even though it actually predates it). As a result it is a diplomatic treaty organization and has diplomatic immunity. Useful when the main risk is harassment by lawsuit.

              The other thing the ITU does besides setting standards is to perform a whole rack of registration functions. Slots for satelites in geosynchronous orbit are allocated by the ITU, as are radio frequencies. In other words pretty much what ICANN was set up to do.

              I suspect that there wont be much movement unless the US directs ICANN to do something completely assinine like cutting off Cuba from the net if the Bushies think they need to impress the Florida voters.

    • ...and as long as they tell Verisign to stuff .COM wildcards up Verisign's .cx...
  • All Hail... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by j0keralpha ( 713423 ) * on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:06PM (#7550216)
    The Great Emporer ICANN.

    The real question is who would do a better job. ICANN has made some questionable decisions in the past regarding delegation of authority *cough* Netsol *Cough* Considering that whoever we get is going to be a largely bureaucratic body, what can the ITU give us that will make them a better solution? Bear in mind as well that handing control to the ITU could cost us in that ICANN has traditionally been a bit more... Anglo-centric in terms of policy.
    • Re:All Hail... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by eln ( 21727 )
      The answer to "who can do better than ICANN?" is "it would be difficult for anyone to do any worse."

      ICANN has managed to mismanage just about every aspect of the Internet, and has been too busy trying to keep itself in power and settle internal squabbles to worry about how their policies actually affect the modern Internet in the real, modern world.

      I think it's high time a more international body took over what is, after all, an international network.
    • Re:All Hail... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by macshune ( 628296 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:14PM (#7550273) Journal
      I don't see developing countries doing a better job managing the infrastructure of the internet either from a technological or ideological point of view.

      The nice thing about having the USA, UK, etc countries manage the internet is that we are more often than not held accountable and have a great degree of transparency in our decision making. Yeah, there are some problems with seemingly shady dealings with ICANN vis-a-vis other orgs/companies, but compare that with, say, China, a country that blocks a large part of the internet and jails dissenters.

      In the end I'd be for a more global approach to the government of the internet. yeah, it's romantic and idealized, but it could happen. there would just have to be total transparency and no one should be allowed to mess with dns.

    • I for one welcome the reestablishment of our ICANN overlords.
    • Sure they've made questionable decisions, but all in all everything has worked out so far.

      So, netsol is a bit evil, yes, but their corporatization of the internet helped make it highly available to the masses. And let's not forget that with corporatization comes standardization (usually) and more importantly -- accountability. If something goes wrong then there is a higher potential for a huge class not much goes wrong.

      Oh, and let's not forget that whole sitefinder crap. ICANN stuck to their g
    • If ICANN has been centric around any principles it is these:

      - Protection of trademarks beyond that enacted by any legislature anywhere in the world.

      - Protection of trademarks beyond that enacted by any legislature anywhere in the world.

      (Yes, I wrote that twice, on purpose)

      - Exclusion of any but those who make money from the internet from its policy making forums (users, since they merely pay money, are relegated to the peanut gallery.)

      - Generate lots and lots of fees for the law firm that c
  • by heironymouscoward ( 683461 ) <> on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:06PM (#7550223) Journal
    The ICANN vs. ITU battle is a stage in the ongoing wars (fought with instruments other than bullets and knives for my fellow slashdottians who take everything uberliterally) between the rich states and the stateless masses.

    The ICANN (or should this be called the "UCANT") represents the rich west controlling the Internet, the ITU represents what is laughingly called the "United Nations".

    There is about much chance of the ITU taking over the nexus of the Internet as there is of the UN relocating to the Pentagon.
    • by WIAKywbfatw ( 307557 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:22PM (#7550333) Journal
      ...the ITU represents what is laughingly called the "United Nations".

      Funny how outside a certain country in North America, which got very upset twelve months ago when it found out that international opinion wasn't always going to be on its side, the United Nations is still well respected.

      I find it the very height of hypocrisy that the US has been happy to veto otherwise unanimous Security Council and General Assembly resolutions condemning Israel for its heavy-handedness in the occupied territories but feels the need to shout it from the rooftops when the overwhelming majority of both bodies oppose a resolution that gives the US carte blanche to wage war.

      Somehow, the US standing in the way of world opinion when it comes to Israel is called "diplomacy in action" but when world opinion doesn't tow the line and is heavily opposed to a US plan of action the United Nations is somehow "broken". Gee, nice double standards you've got there, pal.

      The current US administrations, through its actions and words, has done more to harm the UN than any other country has ever done. Yet, somehow, that administration and the largely sycophantic US media continues to paint a picture of the UN being the one to blame. Flippant comments, such as the one made in the parent post, only serve to reinforce this absurd state of affairs.
      • and that has what to do with the original topic?
      • The United Nations is a worthless institution that has doomed itself to irrelevancy. In its entire history, the UN has acted in only 2 conflicts:

        - The Korean War (and then only because the Soviet Union was absent from the Security Council vote). That war ended in a stalemate, and most of the issues behind the war are still unresolved today
        - The Gulf War. The UN got off to a good start, but then showed its true colors over the following 12 years in its inability to enforce its own resolutions against Ira
        • The United Nations is a worthless institution that has doomed itself to irrelevancy. In its entire history, the UN has acted in only 2 conflicts:

          Right wing poppy-cock [in the original meaning of the word].

          The security council is not the UN. Only fifteen members of the UN are on the security council and of those only five have significant power.

          The UN has been involved in pretty much every conflict going on since it was founded. In particular you will find that almost without exception the UN has been

          • Since the start of the invasion more US soldiers have been killed in Iraq than were killed in the first three years of Vietnam.

            And the reason for that, is that the three first years of Vietnam, the US only had a few advisors present. It's hard to get killed if you're not there. The US didn't really start getting heavily involved with combat troops until a couple of years into the conflict.

            • And the reason for that, is that the three first years of Vietnam, the US only had a few advisors present. It's hard to get killed if you're not there. The US didn't really start getting heavily involved with combat troops until a couple of years into the conflict.

              There were 15,000 'military advisors' when JFK was assasinated. That was steadily cranked up under LBJ and of course when gulf of Tonkin was manufactured that was the signal for all out quagmire.

              If the Administration is not bothered by the num

              • There were 15,000 'military advisors' when JFK was assasinated. That was steadily cranked up under LBJ and of course when gulf of Tonkin was manufactured that was the signal for all out quagmire.

                But they weren't frontline, combat troops, which the troops in Iraq are.

                It's like comparing the number of American killed the first day of US entry into the WW2, and the number of French and British killed the first 5 months in their entry.

                If the Administration is not bothered by the number of casualties in the
              • The last time those were restricted was under Nixon, and for the same reason.

                Humm, how is the press "restricted" from this? If they get the pictures they are free to broadcast them. How did Nixon, who withdrew the US from VietNam and ended the draft, institute this?

                Sounds like you are a victim of misinformation, if not an agent of it's spread.
      • Funny how outside a certain country in North America, which got very upset twelve months ago when it found out that international opinion wasn't always going to be on its side, the United Nations is still well respected.

        Well, we'll see. Certainly Syria, Libya, Sudan, Cuba, Mauritania and the rest of the "UN Commission on Human Rights" think the organization is just fantastic. But the Internet exists in its current form because of a certain country in North America. I wonder how many of the people who are h

      • "Funny how outside a certain country in North America"

        Damn those Canadians!!!
    • in the ongoing wars (fought with instruments other than bullets and knives

      In space, or on the tops of very tall mountains...

    • by bigpat ( 158134 )
      "between the rich states and the stateless masses"

      How exactly do you see the "stateless masses" working through the ITU?

      Only states and corporations are represented in the ITU.
    • Literally, screw the rest of the world. Screw them early and screw them often. The only reason there is an "Internet" is because the United States gave birth to the damned thing. Allowing the UN to have any part in running the thing would be a very bad joke. The UN is a hopelessly inept organization and we would all have been better off without it.

      All of us meaning of course the horrible people in the "rich west". Like I said, screw the rest of the world.
    • I'm sure the Internet will be managed so much better by the ITU (subset of the UN) than a private organization. Just look at the UN's track-record for examples. Soon they will want to ban certain content (albeit some content needs to go), but first comes management, then comes censorship!
  • Follow the money... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:09PM (#7550239) Journal

    It seems that the United States, Europe and English-speaking partners are happy to let ICANN carry on running the show

    That's that, then.

    • That's that, then.

      Forget the money, follow the technology. Or rather, trace the technology back to its origins. Sure, India does a lot of tech work... using Western technology on behalf of Western organizations for Western money. It's not politically correct to say this, but for hundreds of years, the only significant technological work has been done by people working in or at least educated by Western (or Western-style, like Japan) nations. I really don't see why nations that have accomplished very, very
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Ahhh, the Register. Isn't it the computer equivalent to In Touch / People / Hello Magazine?
  • Before you start building network infrastructure in developing countries, lets get the countries to feed their starving first.
    • As the USA has such a large population, it probably has more homeless and starving people than most other countries, so maybe you should feed them first...
      • Except they're not starving and while the US isn't exactly paradise it's pretty much running without the need for foreign aid. Third World nations should not be in the business of trying to band together and run things that they have little or no ability to run.

        They should be in the business of getting their acts together, feeding their POVS and getting their people some basic freedoms. Basically if your "President" is serving a term of office that's roughly "Life" then you're a fucked up country that n
    • One of the way that dictators (whether 'elected' or not) control their population is by limiting the access to information. I have seen places where the world price of sugar is a secret. Why, because government linked monopolies buy it from the farmers for a few dollars a ton then resell it on the international market.

      In many cases they don't need access to the outside world, just the local market prices can be useful. Also, privatisation is great but unless people have a real idea of the value of the bit

  • by Slider451 ( 514881 ) <> on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:15PM (#7550279)
    ICANN = Unilateralist, pre-emptive "improvements" to the Internet, whether you like them or not.

    ITU = Lots of diplomatic talk barely concealing greedy power grabbers, in the end accomplishing little.

    On a side note: What does Switzerland do for Internet access?
    • Just let the Red Cross run the whole thing. They are the protectors of the Geneva Convention, and headquartered in switzerland. That way we have an unbias group running it.
    • Good Point (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Orien ( 720204 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:32PM (#7550394)
      You make a good point. We should definitely be aware of the underlying politics involved here, because it will have a big effect on how the internet is played out. One important thing to keep in mind is that when capitalist western countries like the USA are in charge of the internet (or have the biggest influence or what-have-you) the policy changes are most likely to be ones that are good decisions for business application, or will make someone some money somewhere. If the internet is controlled by third-world countries the decisions will lean toward crippling the bigger powers to boost their own 'net presence (of course they wouldn't word it that way, but it amounts to the same thing even if you use the words "fairness"). If the internet is controlled by a world organization such as the UN the internet will start to be shaped to answer the objections of the nations involved such as China who wants to guarantee censorship to it's citizens. Change needs to happen, and ICANN has defiantly made some bad decisions but my point is, let's not rush into a change just because we don't like what they have done. Another group could do FAR worse if we are not careful.
      • I really wish I had mod points for you.
      • Actually this is moe like concentration (what the western buisness men wants, all drool at night over monopoly or being the obligatory passage for any sort of application) vs country which want the pwoer be mroe democratic and think that too much power in the same individual (USA anyone) is imperialistic and none too good for the world at large. And seeing on how on the diplomatic field USA is handling the democratic process (Guatamalo bay, Irak, Afghanistan etc...), then one cannot do anything but understa
        • Too much power in one person's hands has the potential to be an exceptionally bad thing. It breeds dictatorships and dictatorial attitudes. Everybody should be accountable to somebody. (For the record I disagree about the comments about the US, but I digress.)

          However, too little power in one person's hands, in this case, is equally awful. "Too many hands in the pot ruins the soup."

          I'll avoid the Iraq situation since it is so hot-button still and instead move back to the situation of ethnic cleansing

    • We could just hand it over to a bunch of monkeys on crack. There'd be a lot more squabbling (and poo flinging -- there's almost never poo flinging in the other organizations) but there'd be a lot less power grabs, they'd often make more sense and we could get on with taking our network back from the corporations.
    • At the risk of following a well-trodden groove, isn't there some nice third-party group I can root for?

      I've always been a big proponent of accessibility. We try to write clean html code so blind people's programs can read it (right guys?) we use moderation systems, we let everybody in and we let the good stuff float to the top. You know, like that whole free market theory.

      But then, like that whole free market theory, we can think the internet is free and unfettered all we want, but dig down deep enoug

  • Bah (Score:3, Funny)

    by Stile 65 ( 722451 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:18PM (#7550310) Homepage Journal
    Let's just all switch our root hints files to the ORSC [] root servers! Then we'll show them ALL who's boss!

    • they'll only really be taken seriously if they scrap "confederation" from their name...sounds too much like gun-toting white trash with confederate flags hanging out of the back of their beat-up pickup truck with no muffler and a rottweiler in the back.
    • I think the ITU controlling the net is wonderfull. I could't be happier about this.

      For those of you who are serious, go read Malamud's [] account of the ITU. And keep in mind how sleazy [] these guys are.

      Any of you who want to be a publically accessible nameserver for the ORSC root zone, drop me a line. Apparantly we're getting to be a bit popular and need to spread out the load a bit. Yo u guys are starting to chew up quite a bit of bandwidth.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I always get confused. Are we supposed to like ICANN this time?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:21PM (#7550324)

    Can someone explain to me exactly what ICANN controls besides the policys on domain naming?

    Everyone posting keeps talking about how they are doing a horrible job of controlling the internet, but I thought they only controlled DNS stuff and nothing else?
    • That my friend is exactly the problem. Many people/governments think that there is alot more to internet governance than what ICANN does. They think that ICANN can control harmful and illegal content, cybercrime/terrorism, regulate internet access, create competition/stop competition etc.

      But the only pressure points you have to kind of control who gets access to the existing net and under what conditions, are the DNS and the distribution of IP-numbers. Most of the DNS is done nationally by the ccTLD's and
  • by Le Marteau ( 206396 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:21PM (#7550329) Journal
    Whereas developing nations, China, India,...

    Whaaa? How long is it going to take these nations to develop, anyway? I mean, they've only been civilizations for, um, how many millenium was it last time I checked.

    My brothers, it's time to get off your backsides and get cracking! You snooze, you lose!
    • Wake up DUDE! If you make an effort to understand the global political scenario you would understand why the developing nations never developed. The people living in the developing nations don't enjoy living in poor living conditions. Welcome to world of politics.
    • Whaaa? How long is it going to take these nations to develop, anyway? I mean, they've only been civilizations for, um, how many millenium was it last time I checked.

      While I understand that you were trying to be funny, you perhaps have no idea how infuriating such statements are to those from these developing nations (I wouldn't say 'offended' which would be in the league of racial or ethnic insensitivity, I'm sure you mean well). I, personally, am neither infuriated nor offended, merely irritated, and he

      • Fair enough, and well put.

        I'm not going to address my post, your post, or anyone's post, just going to say where I'm coming from. I think the Indian's and the Chinese have amazing cultures... I have studied them, learned from them, and am a better man for them.

        Their leaders obviously suck... I just found the description of their civilizations as 'developing' highly ridiculous and humorous when I read article, and perhaps my humour needed to have a road-sign attached to it so as to be more clear to those
  • Governance? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mindstrm ( 20013 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:24PM (#7550347)
    Who's kidding who here?

    Ultimately, my network will connect to someone elses however we decide to do so.. and the same will happen with large networks.

    The Internet is not a governed, closed system... we pay attention to what the IANA and others do only because they make logical decisions that everyone basically agrees to follow. The only way they can govern is by making good decisions.. their power only comes from cooperation.
  • In my opinion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suso ( 153703 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:30PM (#7550382) Homepage Journal
    Nobody asked me, but in my opinion and experience, non-technically oriented people have no business running the Internet and determining it's course.
    • If I had known you were going to give that answer, I would have asked you.

      Seriously though, I agree completely. I assume they would be given recommendations from some kind of committee composed of technical folks but they would still have the final say and probably wouldn't understand the technical recommendations. Technical and non-technical people have different ways of viewing problems and situations.
    • Your point is well taken, although I think there's also an argument for an opposite point of view. Technology is not an end in and of itself. The "higher purpose" decisions are what political bodies are all about. Or supposed to be about. Now I realize it doesn't always work out that way - there are too many internecine turf wars, special interests, and greedy politicians for the "higher purpose" (whatever that is) to actually make it to the table a lot of the time. But I think that's the idea, anyway.
    • They used to say that about landowners and voting too -- "in my opinion, people without (substantial) property have no business running the government and determining its course." Exactly in those words... What is a "technical orientation" anyway? Many of the smartest IP strategists and network architects I know don't have PhDs (or even BSs) in Engineering. Like it (!) or not, the Internet is becoming the chief means by which people across the world interact with each other. Be realistic -- just because i
  • Governance? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RealProgrammer ( 723725 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:31PM (#7550391) Homepage Journal

    The Internet is supposed to be free. Free as in freedom free.

    The model in microcosm is this: I have a cable modem and a wireless access point. You have a DSL and a wireless network, too. We agree to share the wireless network to route data on each other's landline. If one of our landlines is down, the other takes the load. If you get impolite with your usage of my network, I block your access, and vice versa. Each of us polices the Internet at our own router.

    The power-hungry politicians and small-minded bean counters think my Internet needs "governance". They worry, "Someone will make a profit!" or "Someone will send spam!" or "Someone will have access to {information|music|software} without paying for it!" Someone will charge too much, or not enough, or not let people with green hair use their ftp site, or whatever. Or someone will go untaxed.

    Hands off.

  • If nobody really owns the internet, how does one own the internet? I mean, that's why I joined up with OpenNIC [] earlier this year - is because nobody ever really owned the network.
  • An interesting read here on the WSIS [] by a chap called Alan Toner. There's a fair bit of hyperbole used to get the point across but it's a sound one and covers a lot to do with the problems of intellectual property amongst other things.
  • Here's hoping (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Oopsz ( 127422 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:35PM (#7550413) Homepage
    Maybe if we turn over the internet to an international organization, some of the americo-centricism will drop. Hey, maybe the american government will be forced to, to match all the other countries in the world!

    (yeah, and maybe pigs will fly)
    • So would this site be forced to be
    • Well, those Americans (i mean people from USA) are all the time with that talk about democracy, equal rights and such politically-correct blah blah.

      Let's change .gov to then!
      Oh, wait... Is that supposed to be the World Government?
      (oh-my-god, now i see... Bush is the president of Earth!!! AAAHH!!!)
  • Look at the alternative - Microsoft might just try to buy it. ;)
  • With Big Governments and Big Companies all fighting over how they control a very big part of our lives I would like to see research on making the internet more resistant to control. The internet was originally designed to be resistant to nuclear attack by being decentralised and able to adapt to interference upon the network. I think we need to develop new protocols to actively protect the internet from being vulnerable to control.
    I think what we need it a pure peer to peer protocol to replace the heirarchi
    • TCP/IP doesn't need to be replaced. IP is not heirarchical by nature. The Internet is already not a strict heirarchy. There is a sort of tiered structure with big backbone providers at the top, and small companies and individuals at the bottom, but the connections don't form a tree; there are lots of cycles and cross-connections. The problem with a fully decentralized P2P mesh-type network is routing. Solve the routing problem, and TCP/IP will work just fine in that environment. If you don't solve the
  • by TyrranzzX ( 617713 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:47PM (#7550515) Journal
    First of all, most of the internet's equipment is in america and europe, with an exception being made for china, japan, tiawan, and korea which also have substancial investment in the internet. So, letting some small country in africa dictate how the internet is run isn't a good idea, to start with. It can be looked at in a viewpoint of economic warfare; if Britan can get and register it to a britan based company instead of to wal-mart the international corperation, they could potentially make a lot of money importing.

    After that, you've got problems with international corperations greasing the wheeles all over. The UN is even more corrupt than the US goverment. All the UN does is make "deals" (some of which involve bullying) between nations for resources as well as making it possible for GE to dump toxic waste in korea and if korea doesn't like that they can kiss the UN's sweet behind. This is why, as Jello Biafra says, the kidnapping rich people and corrupt goverment officials in mexico is what corperations like to call a growth industry.

    So, if we move all the internets services to an even more corrupt govermental system with absolutely no responsability to a people but rather to goverments who want to supress people, what do you think will happen?

    If china wants xyz banned internationally they can probably pull the strings to do that. If some "terrorist" group in the US puts leaked files on a website prooving conspiracy such as Diebold, what do you think the probability of them pulling the DNS registry would be? As long as the DNS stays under control of and protection by the biggest bully on the block it'll serve the needs of the biggest bully and so long as you don't fsck with it, the bully will leave you alone. It's a lot better than throwing it into the middle of a room with people ranging from weak babies to 500 pound strongmen and watching the freeforall.

    Or better yet, what if they wanted to implement internet 2 so that stupid dinosaur people run the internet and not the smart people who do now (to put it in a blunt manner)? Hey, we don't like rantradio because it's a free, uncensored medium that's taking buisness away from RIAA affiliated companies so we're just going to take you off of DNS and fsck your internet connection.

    I, as everyone else, would love to see the services ICANN trys to implement given real form and direction and be ruled by wise, progressive people instead of large international corperations and a goverment run amok as it does now.
  • by djeaux ( 620938 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @04:55PM (#7550634) Homepage Journal
    The Register proclaims:
    "The people chosen to run ICANN in 1998 were those who knew more about the technology than anyone else - computer scientists. It was an apparently logical decision but tragically flawed. The characteristics that make a computer scientist are not those that make a good politician or decision-maker.

    Now, I'd like to know exactly what characteristics that make a good computer scientist are incompatible with being a good decision-maker. Is the point here that governance is inherently the domain of the clueless?

    The choice seems to be between computer scientists (ICANN) & telecommunications suits (ITU). Isn't ironic that the U.S. government is on the side of ICANN?

    • I basically agree with your points, but I view the conflict a little differently. I think the fundamental disconnect is between those that want the Internet based on good technical decisions and those that want it based on good commercial ones. The former wants to ensure stability, promote new technologies, and design a robust, scalable system. The latter wants to exploit what we have to make money.

      What's needed is a healthy balance: a solid, robust base that can meet the demands of businesses and users
  • ITU Meeting May Decide Governance of the Net


  • by Lodragandraoidh ( 639696 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @05:05PM (#7550757) Journal
    I found it quite enlightening to read the Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action [] for the summit. The most interesting aspect of this document is the apparent riders that were added to the document later in the draft process [in brackets]. Some selected quotes:

    We are resolute in our quest to ensure everyone can benefit from the opportunities ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) can offer...all stakeholders should work together to:...(list of items)...;foster and respect cultural diversity;[recognize the role of the media]...

    Governments, as well as the private sector, civil society, and the United Nations and other international organizations have an important role and responsibility in developing the Information Society and, as appropriate, in decision making processes...[The media has a special role in the Information Society]...

    [Strengthening the trust framework, including [network and information security] authentication, privacy and consumer protection, is a prerequisite for the development of the Information Society and for building confidence among users of ICTs...

    The document seemed like a table tennis match, wherein the countervailing issues had no apparent resolution. In particular, the conflict between the fair use access to free information and the digital rights management and security issues seems irreconcilable. I applauded the emphasis on free and open standards - but again find it hard to reconcile with other issues attached to the document.

    This item I found particularly interesting:

    Volunteering, [if conducted in harmony with national policies and local cultures,] can be a valuable asset for raising human capacity to make productive use of ICT tools and to build a more inclusive Information Society.

    Given the subject of the document, 'Volunteering' in this context would be helping people to learn 'ICT' tools and perhaps building infrastructure. I can not fathom how this would be conducted outside of 'harmony with national policies and local cultures'. This does, however, open the door for suppressing the assistance given to particular groups in a state, if such assitance is not approved by said government. This contradicts the whole idea behind an inclusive Information Society, which this document seems, at first glance, to espouse.
  • by XNormal ( 8617 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @05:19PM (#7550944) Homepage
    The ICANN is too new. It's still reeling from the bubble and exploring vast new realms of corruption and mismanagement. The ITU is an old, established organization that has already settled to an acceptable level of mediocrity. The amount of damage it can do is therefore quite limited.
  • OK, That's not entirely possible, given that he died a few years ago, but the whole thing ran a whole lot smoother when Jon was the dictator of the entire 'net.

    However the institutions of that time, the Internet Architecture Board, the IETF and the Internet Society providing a corporate, but hands-off, home for it all ran a whole lot smoother than the overly beurocratic mess that we have now.

    But the ITU would be worse. Remember how they fought TCP/IP tooth and nail?
  • by jcam2 ( 248062 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @06:36PM (#7552012) Homepage
    Currently, ICANN has very little control over the Internet - they merely approve top-level domains and IP address allocation ranges, which is just about the minimum amount of central control necessary for the Internet to operate smoothly.

    Even if ICANN was replaced by some corrupt UN body, it would still be unable to cause much harm. The Internet is really just a bunch of networks run by various companies and organizations in different countries that have agreed to connect to each other, in hundreds of different legal juristictions. What possible leverage would ICANN or the ITU have over them?
  • Let's see now, China and Saudi Arabia, those bastions of free and independent media, want to run the net? Guess that Goatse guy is history...

    Let's consider, what did all these 2nd and 3rd world countries do to invent the 'net? to do the intellectual heavy lifting to figure out how to make it work? Build the technology? Fund the demo models? Iron out the bugs? Make it an almost free world-wide utility such as has never been seen in all of history? (Sound of crickets chirping in the silence)

    So they h

    • Man don't forget that civilisation as we know it largely came from Africa and the middle east. The wheel for example, we use the arabic system for counting - imagine if we'd stayed with the Roman system, modern writing, the Bible...
      • I'm aware that a lot of things have come out of the rest of the world. However the internet is not one of them. I mean no generalized slander upon the non-western world. Hopefully their best is yet to come.
  • Which one to choose? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kyouryuu ( 685884 ) on Monday November 24, 2003 @10:54PM (#7554212) Homepage
    The answer is rather simple. You choose the one that won't sell out to big corporations. Even though ICANN eventually took some form of action against Verisign, it was little more than a slap on the wrist. A meaningful entity would have stripped Verisign of its registrar power outright and made an example of them.

    If some organization must "control" the Internet, it must act in accordance with the greater Internet mobocracy. In essence, it should do nothing unless provoked, at which point it snaps like a rabid dog.

    Course, I don't trust any government regime to effect such an organization...
  • ICANN. Lets see, now why exactly can't someone have a domain name .art for their art class? Or how about .cars for their auto dealership? Did that .kids thing ever go through? Could potentially make filtering naughty stuff from the rugrats a bit easier.

    But then again, we have to consider the rights of those companies that have put $$$$ in domain names and need to cash in on their investments. ICANN's decisions reflect the interests of the people who line their pockets and God forbid China or Japan

Testing can show the presense of bugs, but not their absence. -- Dijkstra