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EU Wants To Control The Internet

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AP: EU Wants Shared Control of Internet

Because Yahoo news articles tend to die off in time, I shall quote the whole article here.

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Union insisted Friday that governments and the private sector must share the responsibility of overseeing the Internet, setting the stage for a showdown with the United States on the future of Internet governance.

A senior U.S. official reiterated Thursday that the country wants to remain the Internet's ultimate authority, rejecting calls in a United Nations meeting in Geneva for a U.N. body to take over.

EU spokesman Martin Selmayr said a new cooperation model was important "because the Internet is a global resource."

"The EU ... is very firm on this position," he added.

The Geneva talks were the last preparatory meeting before November's World Summit on the Information Society in Tunisia.

A stalemate over who should serve as the principal traffic cops for Internet routing and addressing could derail the summit, which aims to ensure a fair sharing of the Internet for the benefit of the whole world.

At issue is who would have ultimate authority over the Internet's master directories, which tell Web browsers and e-mail programs how to direct traffic.

That role has historically gone to the United States, which created the Internet as a Pentagon project and funded much of its early development. The U.S. Commerce Department has delegated much of that responsibility to a U.S.-based private organization with international board members, but Commerce ultimately retains veto power.

Some countries have been frustrated that the United States and European countries that got on the Internet first gobbled up most of the available addresses required for computers to connect, leaving developing nations with a limited supply to share.

They also want greater assurance that as they come to rely on the Internet more for governmental and other services, their plans won't get derailed by some future U.S. policy.

Policy decisions could at a stroke make all Web sites ending in a specific suffix essentially unreachable. Other decisions could affect the availability of domain names in non-English characters or ones dedicated to special interests such as pornography.

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Edited by softwareNerd
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Thanks for posting this, Pancho Villa.

And, whether independently or incited by the EU, the UN is trying similar plots. I found this article in Business Week summarizing the attempt. An excerpt:

SEP. 29 10:35 A.M. ET A senior U.S. official rejected calls on Thursday for a U.N. body to take over control of the main computers that direct traffic on the Internet, reiterating U.S. intentions to keep its historical role as the medium's principal overseer.

"We will not agree to the U.N. taking over the management of the Internet," said Ambassador David Gross, the U.S. coordinator for international communications and information policy at the State Department. "Some countries want that. We think that's unacceptable."

Many countries, particularly developing ones, have become increasingly concerned about the U.S. control, which stems from the country's role in creating the Internet as a Pentagon project and funding much of its early development.

Gross was in Geneva for the last preparatory meeting ahead of November's U.N. World Summit on the Information Society in Tunisia.

Some negotiators from other countries said there was a growing sense that a compromise had to be reached and that no single country ought to be the ultimate authority over such a vital part of the global economy.

But Gross said that while progress was being made on a number of issues necessary for producing a finalized text for Tunis, the question of Internet governance remained contentious.

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Cox and Forkum have picked up on ths story:

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(Image hosted by Image Shack in order not to steal bandwidth. Please visit C&F, they're awesome.)

I will continue to post as news agencies pick this story up. I think it'll make its rounds, quietly, through even the mainstream media.

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Oh no...I have been wondering for a little while whether something like this might happen. I guess it is hardly a surprising event though given current social trends...sigh.

As for their being a limited supply of addresses, is there not a new technology in the pipeline, so to speak that would allow vastly more possible addresses? I think i remember reading something about this, i will try to track the article down.

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According to The Guardian, in face of international consensus, the US might be forced to give up control over the internet.

It will be officially raised at a UN summit of world leaders next month and, faced with international consensus, there is little the US government can do but acquiesce.

I nominate this as the funniest piece of idiocy ever printed.

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I posted that Guardian article with my commentary on a game-related website I visit. I enjoyed this part the best:

[Note: Hendon is the Department for Trade and Industry's director of business relations and was in Geneva representing the UK government and European Union at the third and final preparatory meeting for next month's World Summit on the Information Society.]

"Hendon explained the EU had decided to end the US government's unilateral control of the internet"

*Newsflash* The US government has decided that Hendon needs to be shot. Why won't that work? The same reason Hendon's idiotic claim won't. You can declare something all you want, but without the power being recognized and legitimate it means NOTHING.

-Regis

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Does anyone know the status of the ICANN non-profit corporation, which controls most of the major root servers that organize the internet? That is, I'm trying to determine whether ICANN is a government-backed "corporation," or a genuine private corporation so I can judge whether it ought to exist or not.

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ICANN is a non-governmental organization. The "control" in question is purely hypothetical right now, since the U.S. government does not interfere with the operation of ICANN. I suspect that the UN would not be nearly so hands-off.

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So is this at all possible (the notion of a coalition of governments taking over ICANN)?

Yes, the independence and the global nature of ICANN may well work against it – it cannot resist UN pressure indefinitely. The most likely outcome of a UN takeover would be the movement of several root servers to China and/or other dictatorships - allowing them to block “harmful and unhealthy” websites from billions of people.

http://ObjectivismOnline.com/blog/archives/000436.html

Edited by GreedyCapitalist
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A stalemate over who should serve as the principal traffic cops for Internet routing and addressing could derail the summit, which aims to ensure a fair sharing of the Internet for the benefit of the whole world.

This is nonsense. With IPv6 it is computationally infeasible to use up all available addresses. Therefore every nation is guaranteed a "fair share" of IP address spaces. What this comes down to is one issue: UN power.

IPv6 can support 2^128 possible addresses. Given such a huge address space it is assinine to even suggest that other developing nations don't get a fair share of space. If they don't want to adopt the new standard then they will pay for it with fewer addresses.

Not to mention the fact that most of the Internet's infrastructure is located in the United States. Moving name servers to Europe/China/Africa just doesn't make any sense from an efficiency standpoint. If most requests made to the root servers originate in the United States then it only makes sense to have the root servers in the same place. It's just less distance to travel; making it faster and putting less of a strain on key routers.

Any networking person will tell you that this is ridiculous. It has nothing to do with "being fair" or improving network efficiency. It is nothing but yet another attempted power grab by the United Nations.

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From my blog:

If you’ve been following the net news, you know that the thug regimes of the UN are trying to seize control of the Internet’s DNS. The latest threat is that the net will “fall apart” within months if the U.S. does not turn over control. What does this mean?

Hidden behind the claims of “multilateralism” and “sharing of best practices” is a thinly veiled threat that if states are not given the power to censor the Internet multilaterally, governments wishing to censor the internet will split off their DNS networks to censor content unilaterally to establish isolated networks.

What’s mostly ignored in the news stories is that ICANN has been successfully managing DNS system without almost any interference from the U.S. Almost, but not quite none – the DOJ has delayed the issuance of some root domains, namely the .XXX porn domain.

Question: Why does the Internet need to been under the control of any regime – unilaterally or multilaterally? If a private organization has done a good job thus far, why not hand over the DNS to them officially?

Edited by GreedyCapitalist
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... a thinly veiled threat that if states are not given the power to censor the Internet multilaterally, governments wishing to censor the internet will split off their DNS networks to censor content unilaterally to establish isolated networks.
I say: let them go if they think they can. I doubt the Chinese have the political will to cut off most of their citizens from all US sites; but, if they do... to heck with them.
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Do the country codes in URLs, such as ".uk" for the United Kingdom and ".cn" for the "People's Republic" of China, function like area codes in telephone numbers?

Is a website's URL the same in all countries or would OOL's URL become

http://forum.objectivismoneline.net.us

in foreign countries while

http://www.nihonkiin.or.jp

would become

http://www.nihonkiin.or

in Japan?

I could see each country establishing its own name server(s) to convert URLs to addresses while implementing this area-code-like scheme and imposing censorship (optionally) at the same time. (Not that I would want them to impose censorship, but I would expect some of them to do that. At least, it would be less bad than having them censor American sites for Americans.)

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Is a website's URL the same in all countries or would OOL's URL become

http://forum.objectivismoneline.net.us

in foreign countries while

http://www.nihonkiin.or.jp

would become

http://www.nihonkiin.or

in Japan?

No, domain names do not work that way. The British version of Amazon's website, for example, is www.amazon.co.uk from anywhere in the world. The entire point of the Domain Name Service is that it creates a mapping from fully-qualified domain name to IP address that applies univocally across all geographical locations.

Edited by khaight
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Just what are these people threatening to do? How do they suppose they will take over? And why, pray tell, would the US have to submit to world opinion? What does "the world" plan on doing to us if we don't?

Don't you just love how they demand their "fair share" of something they didn't invent, or develop, or impliment? Of course, that is the essense of the U.N. - a "fair share" for countries that didn't produce any part of the pie.

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Do the country codes in URLs, such as ".uk" for the United Kingdom and ".cn" for the "People's Republic" of China, function like area codes in telephone numbers?

The internet has root name servers, which as I understand it are under U.S. government control ultimately, which say where the DNS servers are which ultimately map a given domain to an IP address. This article has some information about that.

Offhand I do not see how the EU or China or any other country could "break the internet" without doing some extremely drastic and draconian things to the routers which route DNS requests to the root servers. You would have to reprogram every router, and/or physically disconnect from the rest of the net. Now China does do exactly that (have total control of the routers hooking China to the rest of the planet.) But to have every country in the EU do so, seems absurd to me. But perhaps I'm overlooking something simpler, network gurus may enlighten further.

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Story URL: http://news.zdnet.co.uk/internet/0,39020369,39231613,00.htm

Keep Internet out of UN control, says US

Declan McCullagh

CNET News.com

October 19, 2005, 10:05 BST

A new resolution introduced in the U.S. Senate offers political backing to the Bush administration by slamming a United Nations effort to exert more influence over the Internet.

Senator Norm Coleman, a Republican from Minnesota, said his nonbinding resolution would protect the Internet from a takeover by the United Nations that's scheduled to be discussed at a summit in Tunisia next month.

"The Internet is likely to face a grave threat" at the summit, Coleman said in a statement on Monday. "If we fail to respond appropriately, we risk the freedom and enterprise fostered by this informational marvel and end up sacrificing access to information, privacy and protection of intellectual property we have all depended on."

If ratified, Coleman's resolution would assure the Bush administration and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) of political support on Capitol Hill during the negotiations at the World Summit on the Information Society. Similar support has already come from both senior Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Usually these links time-out, but here is the Resolution: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:sr273:

If that doesn't work, just go here and find the link to the resolution: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=sr109-273

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