Sunday, October 16, 2005

UN wants to take over the Internet?

There have been many news stories since the end of Prepcom-3 about Internet Governance. Most of them are along the lines of - "the UN wants to take over the Internet". But having been involved in the UN internet governance issue for a while, and being at the meetings in the Prepcom, that isn't true. It is true that almost everyone wants the US to give up its primary role in Internet management, but handing it over to the UN isn't the option that everyone else wants! The only thing that's agreed by everyone except the US is that the US has to give it up. To whom, or what - that's still up in the air. There are several options on the table. Of course, the US doesn't want to hand it over to a multinational body, or to anyone or anything. My preferred suggestion is that the US do what the Clinton administration agreed to, and let ICANN become independent in 2006. Independent, not subject to any new oversight arrangement.
Governments are already involved in ICANN through the GAC. If ICANN's internal evolution goes along as planned, then there is no need for UN or any other oversight body.
A huge problem is that this discussion is distracting from a lot of the very important governance issues that could work to creating a fair and equitable Information Society. Development and digital divide issues have been swept aside in the fight over the US control of the DNS. This is stupid and short-sighted, and the governments, especially of the developing countries, are at risk of losing a valuable opportunity to really make a difference.

See some of the stories here:

EU says internet could fall apart
A battle has erupted over who governs the internet, with America demanding to maintain a key role in the
network it helped create and other countries demanding more control.,3604,1589902,00.html

Where countries stand,3604,1589904,00.html

Net power struggle nears climax
US administration coming under worldwide pressure over
the net. It is seen as arrogant and determined to
remain the sheriff of the world wide web, regardless
of whatever the rest of the world may think.

House Backs U.S. ICANN Stand
The U.S. House Commerce Committee backed the White
House Thursday and emphatically opposed turning over
governance of the Internet to the U.N..,39024677,39153172,00.htm

Moves to give UN net control
PLANS by the UN to take control of the internet have
descended into high farce, with delegates at a meeting
in Geneva tabling nine different proposals but failing
to reach agreement.,7204,16874891%5e15306%5e%5enbv%5e15306,00.html

Nations squabble over internet management
Delegates at a meeting in Geneva on Monday failed to
reach an agreement on who should control the
internet's addressing system.

The UN World Summit on the Information Society met for
the first time in Geneva, Switzerland on Dec. 10-12,
2003 for what would begin a heated international
debate over control of the Internet.

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