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US Keeps Control of the Internet 1057

Adam Schumacher writes "As a result of a a deal reached late Tuesday, the US and ICANN will maintain control over the Internet's core systems. A new body will be created to provide international oversight, which will, of course, have no binding authority."
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US Keeps Control of the Internet

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  • by thatshortkid ( 808634 ) * on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @09:27AM (#14042794)
    I, for one, welcome our concern-addressing, no-binding-power-having overlords.

    HA HA!!</nelson>

    burn, baby, burn... karma inferno!
    • by ColaMan ( 37550 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @10:12AM (#14043125) Journal
      It'll be great! Kinda of like the UN!
  • by ellem ( 147712 ) * <ellem52 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @09:27AM (#14042796) Homepage Journal
    World: We want to control the internet.
    USA: No.
    World: Come on!
    USA: No.
    World: Will you at least think about it?
    USA: No.
    World: If you don't we will be forced to make our own DNS systems.
    USA: OK.
    World: But that will break the internet.
    USA: OK
    World: But that would be bad.
    USA: Then leave it alone.
    World: OK. But we're making a committee.
    USA: That's cute.
    • Detective: Now don't you fret. When I'm through, he won't set foot in this town again. I can be very, very persuasive.
      (Cutaway to detective in a bar with Sideshow Bob)
      Detective: Come on, leave town.
      Sideshow Bob: No.
      Detective: I'll be your friend.
      Bob: No.
      Detective: Aw, you're mean!

      And for those Sideshow Bob fans, I managed to get this shot at just the right frame..

      CLICK ME!!111one1 []
    • [The] new body will...have no binding authority.

      Per Merriam-Webster [] . . . To bind means to constipate...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @10:33AM (#14043346)
      UN: "Please stop breaking into the DNS servers."
      Hacker: "Ok." ...months later...

      UN: "You have broken in again, please cease and desist or we will be forced to write a resolution."
      Hacker: "Ok" ...months later...

      UN: "This is the third time you have broken in; please see the updated resolution stating our resolve to enforce the previous resolution. We are going to send you a nasty letter, you know."
      Hacker: "Why don't you secure the server?"

      UN: "Resolution UN1231-123-122.1 to upgrade security has passed. We are ok."
      Hacker: "No you're not, the server is still open."

      UN: "But we have a resolution."
      Hacker: "um...."

      UN: "Don't push us or we'll send in the men in blue."
      Hacker: "The Smurfs?"
      UN: "Mind you, our security force is top-notch, they have cans of mace and can insult your mother."
      Hacker: "right..."

      Hacker: "Do you want some Pay-Pal dollars?"

      • USA: Do as we say.
        UN: Sorry, the rest of the world doesn't agree.

        USA: You must do as we say.
        UN: But really, the rest of the world doesn't agree.

        USA: You are running out of time. You must do what we say, and do it now.
        UN: You are irritating the rest of the world. They want something else. You should respect that.

        USA: The fact that you don't take your responsibility to do as we say, proves you irrelevant because of your disrespect for freedom and democracy.
        UN: Still, the vast majority is ag
  • Still good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by koreaman ( 835838 ) <> on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @09:28AM (#14042802)
    The United States built the thing, and it's not asking for control of all the stuff Europe built.
    • Re:Still good (Score:3, Insightful)

      by glesga_kiss ( 596639 )
      The United States built the thing, and it's not asking for control of all the stuff Europe built.

      Neither are we. If that were the way the world worked we'd be begging the middle east every time we wanted to make a calculator.

  • by quetzalc0atl ( 722663 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @09:28AM (#14042810) serve the internet? China?

    What other nation of the world could guarantee the free speech implicit to the internet, as sites like slashdot are testament to?
    • by wolf- ( 54587 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @09:38AM (#14042888) Homepage
      France? Germany? Not likely.
      Can't even discuss Nazi history there.
      Can't trade Nazi memorabilia.

      Suggestion of Great Britian, possibly. They tend to have their heads screwed on straight. Canada, our 51st state? What would be the difference?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @10:07AM (#14043094)
        You're lying. In germany you can discuss nazi history all you want. In fact I doubt that there is another country that discusses its own history as much as germany. You can buy nazi memorabilia and use them as a teaching aid or for art purposes. In fact there's even a turq guy (forgot his name) touring through germany reading "Mein Kampf" by Hitler.

        Now in the US, how many torrent trackers were forced to shutdown? Free speech my ass.
      • Canada, our 51st state? What would be the difference?

        *ahem*, we prefer to think of ourselves as your Altered State. re: See our lax recreational drug laws.

        Thanking you in advance for making all future references to Canada as the U.S.of A. Altered State.

      • by cbiltcliffe ( 186293 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @10:56AM (#14043544) Homepage Journal
        Canada, our 51st state? What would be the difference?
        We'd say:

        Hey, hoser! We're shutting down your website, eh? Unless you, like, give us some beer and back bacon, eh?
    • by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @10:24AM (#14043238) serve the internet? China?

      Why do American Slashdotters always bring up China? You know there are other countries than the USA and China, don't you? You do realise that it's the UN that manages the international phone system, don't you? Does China censor your phone calls?

      What other nation of the world could guarantee the free speech implicit to the internet, as sites like slashdot are testament to?

      Um, how about a country that doesn't have the DMCA? How about a country that didn't force the 2600 website to stop linking to some code because Hollywood didn't like people watching DVDs on their own terms? How about a country that didn't pass a law letting the Church of Scientology pressure Google into removing links from their index? [] And, since you brought up the subject of Slashdot, did you know that Slashdot was censored by the Church of Scientology with a USA law? []

      In France and Germany they ban hate speech. In the USA they ban speech that might offend people with lots of money. Stop pretending you are any better than the rest of the world.

    • `` serve the internet? China?''

      Ok, so far so good.

      ``What other nation of the world could guarantee the free speech implicit to the internet, as sites like slashdot are testament to?''

      What? The country that has free speech zones [], has the media only telling half of the news (the other half censored by themselves - or maybe there is some entity imposing censorship on them after all?) or even blatant lies (I'm thinking of Fox here); the country where one of the political parties blocked Internet access to
    • Canada.

      Excuse me but I believe Canada has far more freedom than the US has. Gay marriage, marijuana acceptance, your soldiers fleeing here, DMC and RIAA free, only recently did we get gun registration, no Intelligent Design forced in schools, available cheap prescription drugs and free medical care, a very diverse multi-cultural society...I'm sure there are lot's more examples!

      Sure we have our faults but I think overall we have the most freedom of any nation. Part of that is Geography, look
    • Any country where people do not blindly believe they're the most enlightned in the world (and get modded up "insightful" for that).
    • by ianscot ( 591483 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @12:49PM (#14044686)
      and who better than the US...?

      Nice troll, and good results so far in the modding anyway... The idea is that no one country should have "control over the internet" in ways that don't include oversight by others. "Transparency" is the usual jargon. Nobody, including us, has had it.

      I've corresponded with some friends in Ireland and France over this one, and it's not like they haven't ever read the word "Carnivore" in a news item, you know? You'd like my friends to trust us because you wave a flag and think rosy thoughts about how we're founded on principles of liberty, or something? While all three branches of the federal government are in the hands of a party whose authoritarian leanings couldn't be more clear?

  • by sam_paris ( 919837 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @09:29AM (#14042820)
    I'm just waiting for all the stories in the American media with headlines such as: "We saved the internet", "Internet kept out of hands of cheese eating surrender monkeys!", etc etc

    Seriously, this whole debate was decided by the pressure from big American IT firms and also the furore in the American press about this whole issue. Anyone less well informed than the average geek would think the rest of the world was planning to take the internet, rape it, tie some bricks to its legs and row it over the bridge with the way the press has dealt with this topic.

    Another five years till this comes up again.. i'm hoping for a more democratic contest next time.
  • by rob_squared ( 821479 ) < minus herbivore> on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @09:30AM (#14042823)
    Doesn't this remind you of AT&T, but on a larger scale?

    The US owns the hardware, has all the control, and is expected not to abuse the power. And there's no one that's more powerful that can tell them what to do.

    • And there's no one that's more powerful that can tell them what to do.

      I'll forgive you because you haven't met me...

    • No. The U.S. doesn't own anywhere near all the hardware. The U.S. doesn't control everything. But, yes, the U.S. is expected to not abuse it's power. Tell me, who do you trust the most to have the most control. How about China? How about Nigeria? Wait, let's trust the UK. We'll all end up with Internet ID cards and webcams to monitor us so they can throw us into detention for Homer knows how long until they crack our drives (which hopefully don't rely on MD5 in any way).
      • by Jesus_666 ( 702802 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @11:15AM (#14043739)
        How about Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Trinidad or Bosnia and Herzegovina? They're all better than the USA [] when it comes to press freedom. As has been pointed out before, citing the worst alternative is not a valid argument.

        The real answer is that no single country should be trusted with control of the Internet and that the UN didn't want to control but to manage the 'net.
  • this is good news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by VolciMaster ( 821873 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @09:30AM (#14042825) Homepage
    So far, the US has been the only player who wants to maintain the free and open nature of the internet, with little-to-no censoring. The internet works because anyone can put anything they want up for the world to see.

    Some of that content will be wrong, inflamatory, misguided, illegal, and/or offensive, but having that open forum means that a lot of good will show up, too.

  • by PIPBoy3000 ( 619296 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @09:31AM (#14042840)
    Gallagher said the compromise's ultimate decision is that leadership of the Internet, and its future direction, will remain in the hands of the private sector, although some critics contend that the U.S. government, which oversees ICANN, if only nominally, could still flex its muscle in future decisions.
    So in a sense, the US and the rest of the world have continued to allow the existing private corporations to keep control of the Internet.
  • by skyshock21 ( 764958 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @09:34AM (#14042858)
    Rest of world: "Is there someone else up there we could talk to?"

    USA: "No, now go away before I taunt you a second time. I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries." PPFTTT!!!! PPFFFFFTTTTT!!!!
  • "Latin languages" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by orzetto ( 545509 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @09:35AM (#14042870)
    The accord reached late Tuesday also called for [...] the issue of making domain names -- currently done in the Latin languages -- into other languages, such as Chinese, Urdu and Arabic.

    I suppose they mean Latin alphabet, yet Urdu and Arabic are both written in the Arabic alphabet (possibly with a few Persian-style letters more?). Anyway, I look forward to my first spam with a Chinese address. I can already see the scams: PCs without Chinese fonts that trick users into clicking on a blank link...

  • by CosmeticLobotamy ( 155360 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @09:40AM (#14042903)
    Now if the rest of the world is smart, they'll get to work on setting up plan B servers to bring out on a moment's notice and distributing the info to their big ISPs in case the US suddenly goes nuts. Which has the added bonus of giving the US incentive not to go nuts, and we can all feel better about it.
    • by typical ( 886006 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @09:52AM (#14042975) Journal
      That's a really good solution.

      While I think that the US has done a pretty good job so far of staying hands-off, and I don't think that many countries would do as good a job, it's not impossible that in the future they'll start to abuse their position and do things like .xxx. (Or something else that tries to inject one country's culture into DNS, which is absolutely unacceptable -- banning any domain names containing "nazi" would be another one that I suspect a few countries might try.)

      Second, it's great leverage against Verisign.

      Remember the .com wildcard problem? Where *all* .com addresses always resolved...just much of the time, to a Verisign-run machine with a webserver with ads? If there is a second DNS infrastructure that can be transferred to in an instant, that would put pressure on Verisign not to abuse the DNS system.

      Finally, IIRC, we use the ISO country codes for CCTLDs. That's probably the thing that most countries want to have input on, since it allows them to legitimize claims to country status in the public's eyes. As long as ISO codes are used, the DNS world isn't making any huge political statements -- it shoves the political burden off to ISO (who probably doesn't want that, but it produces separation of red tape and techies, which is a good thing).
    • You mean something like this [].

      This was more an exercise of some countries wanting to exercise content control rather than just technical control. Many people point to the .xxx domain as an example of US interference. I would like to point out that it was a good idea that the .xxx domain got nixed since the very idea promotes censorship. If governments can partition content that it finds objectionable into subdomains, that action aids censorship.

  • How much control? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @09:43AM (#14042922) Homepage Journal
    How much power does ICANN really have, though? Right now everybody listens to them, but I see no reason why people couldn't just set up their own organizations that performed the same functions, and use these instead. Of course, if they all moved in different directions, there would be big chaos, but as long as they all agreed with ICANN, the Internet would continue to work, right? And then, if ICANN ever took decisions that many disagreed with, people could just rely on these alternatives and bypass ICANN, right?

    I know that such a movement already exists in the DNS world (see, for example, OpenNIC []).

    So, while I resent that one organization - worse, a corporation - has so much power over the Internet, I don't think it's as big a problem as it could be.
  • by Pecisk ( 688001 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @09:45AM (#14042926)
    For a moment I even thought - yeah, politicians are such @$#$%%^ that they can screw up absolutely everything.

    But somehow we finished good - until next time.

    I think in this situation we have lession, brothers - we (and I don't care about the OS, about software, about what care you drive or what your beliefs on global warming are) should spread the world that INTERNET should not be controled by NO politics. Repeat after, me - NO poltics. It is media - as paper, TV, radio. It is necessary for people. It is no more just or check out lyrics for that Britney song. It is for job, for communication with other dear ones. It is essental for many to survive (yeah, I am not afraid to say that).
    So let's send big message - each one of us - to our "dear" politics - please DON'T F#$% WITH IT. Seriously.

    Thanks for your attention.
  • by tpgp ( 48001 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @09:49AM (#14042950) Homepage
    The headline should read:
    Private Sector will probably retain control of the Internet.

    From the TFA:

    the compromise's ultimate decision is that leadership of the Internet, and its future direction, will remain in the hands of the private sector, although some critics contend that the U.S. government, which oversees ICANN, if only nominally, could still flex its muscle in future decisions.

    And it hasn't even been ratified....this is just a preliminary decision.

    Have a read of this the register article [] about the Pakistani Ambassador who made this possible.
  • by Winterblink ( 575267 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @09:51AM (#14042965) Homepage
    The Slashdot crowd really intrigues me. On one hand we're adamantly against operating monopolistic tendencies in one regard (Microsoft with Windows and other software ventures), yet we cheer when another one is formed (US having control over the internet).

    If there's a difference in philosphy here then can someone please point it out to me? I can't be the only one befuddled by the difference of opinion between the two issues around here.
    • by arevos ( 659374 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @10:09AM (#14043108) Homepage
      DNS resolves in a hierarchical structure, and therefore there are root DNS servers that sit at the top of the tree. This has to be the case in order to guarentee DNS entries are consistant. Without a central authority, how would you decide who gets a certain domain name?

      Given this, a monopoly is a necessary evil. The question is who controls this monopoly. Currently ICANN, a private US company oversees this. ICANN has its faults; more public involvement would be nice, less kissing up to large multinationals wouldn't go amiss either. However, ICANN has not screwed up too badly, and the US doesn't interfere with ICANN too often.

      The alternative to ICANN is a group created by a bureaocracy of counties that all want a piece of the pie. Many people are leery of such an idea, as there's a strong possibility that this will turn out to be worse than ICANN.

      Better the devil you know, in other words.
    • It's simple. A large proportion of the Slashdot crowd lives in the United States.

      If a large proportion of the Slashdot crowd worked for Microsoft, I'm sure they'd cheer that monopoly on, too.
  • Here's an idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by arevos ( 659374 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @09:57AM (#14043001) Homepage
    As the majority of people here know, this debate was not about who controls the Internet, but which countries have authority over the body that controls the central DNS servers.

    Frankly, I couldn't care one bit where ICANN is based, just so long as politicians bloody stay away from it! If you don't understand it, then it might not be a good idea screw about with it, especially when all of the experts are telling you not to. How hard is this concept to grasp?

    To its credit, the US has been quite good about not fucking things up... so far. However, I rather fear that the political fuss over the xxx domain may be the tip of a rather ugly iceburg.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @09:57AM (#14043008)
    I think the US should put the top level domain servers under international control the day after all the Middle East countries put their oil under international control. It's the same sort of idea, since the whole world has a vested interest in oil just like it does the Internet. Why shouldn't EVERYONE have a say in how it's used?
  • by Distan ( 122159 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @10:00AM (#14043030)
    I know how these "internationalists" work. First they'll form this forum or committee or whatever, that has non-binding powers. But once the committee is up and running, they'll never shut it down, and in a decade or so they'll find some excuse to start beating their drums to give it more oversight capability.

    Someone needs to put their foot down firmly. While people are free to form whatever little "international internet gossip" knitting circle that they want, the message should be put out that this group will have even less insight to internet governance than the public at large, and all communications from this body will be treated as less than spam.

    Do not grant the slightest bit of recognition or credibility to this thing.
  • by klang ( 27062 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @10:01AM (#14043039)
    with blackjack and hookers.. ..or just with it's own trusted DNS Root servers..
  • by bheer ( 633842 ) <rbheer@gm a i l .com> on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @10:21AM (#14043202)
    Ahead of the summit, rights watchdogs say, both Tunisian and foreign reporters have been harassed and beaten. Reporters Without Borders says its secretary-general, Robert Menard, has been banned from attending.

    These people are obviously qualified to run the Internet. Pity they won't get the chance.

  • by Masa ( 74401 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @10:35AM (#14043360) Journal
    ... with this issue is that it seems like there is some sort of systematic slander campaign in the US press to make the UN look bad. This thing has gone so far that now every time when someone mentions anything related to the UN, the most vocal part of the crowd will yell things about food for oil program and how the UN is The Great Evil. I don't know, how common this negative attitude is overall, but it's clear that the age-old attitude against the UN is raising its head again.

    It has been interesting to see, how surprisingly many will state that the UN is same as the EU, which it isn't, and how ignorant the general population can sometimes be. (To these people I would recommend to take a quick look to the world history and how things have built up.) All this however is (at least in my opinion) a clear sing of some sort of anti-EU attitude that is growing in the USA and this can turn into something bigger and worse in the future. It looks like that the USA would really like to cut all connections to the outside world and start living in the isolation. This is especially sad, because there seems to be more and more issues nowadays that require international co-operation between countries. So, all this anti-EU and anti-UN crap I have seen lately is doing nothing good to anyone.

    Personally, I don't care how is controlling the Internet as long as it is kept free and functional for everyone. Things have been working pretty decently so far, so why to change anything. But what I care is this ignorant mentality, which seems to color news stories related to EU or UN.

    Finally, as far as I know, the UN is not a "nation". It doesn't have a nationality. This seems to be a thing that most people tend to forget. Also, I have understood that the UN does not have a single body or single agenda, which it is trying to pursue. The UN was designed to be a democratic organisation with different sub-organisations, which try to improve this world we are living in. Yes, sometimes some individuals might have some selfish motives, but in the general, the UN was meant to be something completely different what American people seems to think.

    OK, now I stop this ranting. Sorry if my opinions hurt somebody. And sorry about my bad English. It just pisses me off to see this black and white thinking I've seen lately when reading news and forum postings.
    • Why would anyone need a slander campaign to make the UN look bad?

      Standard news will make the UN look bad all on it's own- which you'd know if you've been paying any attention to the oil-for-food scandal, or any other story that's popped up in the past decade or so.

      It just pisses me off to see this black and white thinking

      I'm sure you're into all sorts of sophisticated and multi-layered shades of grey, but when it comes down to it, there is still Good, Evil, Better, Worse, etc. People like you would use the
  • by tezza ( 539307 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @11:03AM (#14043615) logy/article327341.ece []

    For all the people on this post saying "The UN" or "The World" wants this, that is not true.

    Much of the rest of the world objects to that but the loudest opponents are countries with a history of censorship and repression, such as China and Iran.

    I'm an Australian, living in London. I find the idea of the UN running this very scary. An indepedent american body is far preferable.

    The UN have a very chequered history. Seldom do they stand up for the Big Issues. Take as an example the decision to withdraw UN troops from Sinai in 1967 on the wishes of Assad. Take whatever view of the subsequent war you want, but the UN caved in to the demand to remove peacekeepers.

  • by trollable ( 928694 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @12:14PM (#14044285) Homepage
    This discussion should clear the different issues. For me, there is at least two things: DN allocation and DN requests. The first one required some kind of centralization, to avoid dupes. Each country is free to manage its own name space. Some international organizations could also get its own, like .eu today. We could have .un for example (i don't know if .un is already attributed). IMHO, generic domains, being international, should be moved to the UN or to the .us domain, to make it clear for every one.
    OTOH, the second one should not be centralized. There is no reason for having root servers. Replicating the DNS database is something quite easy so we should have root servers at least in each country (plus some additional ones). Additionaly every one should be allowed to use the root servers they want. Shutting down the us servers would have no effect on users. Massive changes would be detected and stopped. Limited changes would still be possible but at soon they're detected, people would be able to switch to a more 'reliable' root server.
    Summary: no generic domain (.com -> or .com.un), no central root servers

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.