October 02, 2005

Rustler's Rhapsody


From AP: EU Wants Shared Control of Internet.

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."

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.

From Free2Innovate.net: The Internet: Brought to You By Iran, Syria and China (hat tip Free Thoughts).

Make no mistake, this bid is about control of the Internet, its operations and its content - and it's horrible news for anyone who wants to see the Internet flourish as an engine of technological innovation, economic growth and the free exchange of ideas and information.

The U.S. Government has signaled it will stand by the current system of a business-government partnership to determine the best policies for the Internet.

ICANN may have its faults -- indeed, I have documented some of its flaws on this site -- but right now it looks pretty good compared to what the EU and "Axis of Bureaucracy" are dreaming up for the future of the Internet.

UPDATE I -- Oct. 3: From last week's Washington Times: U.S. tells nations hands of Internet (hat tip J.P. Medved).

UPDATE II -- Oct. 10: From The Wall Street Journal: The World Wide Web (of Bureaucrats) (hat tip Tom Pechinski).

Posted by Forkum at October 2, 2005 06:52 PM