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ICANN Meets Annan

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I hear the sound of those virtual black helicopters.
  • fantastic (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29, 2004 @11:15AM (#8703182)
    two organizations that get absolutely nothing done, meet. news at 11.
  • Grumble (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mark_MF-WN (678030) on Monday March 29, 2004 @11:16AM (#8703186)
    The UN really should either take over the DNS system, or regulate it (regulation is probably better). After all, DNS is a global system that is important the better part of the world. It clearly falls under the purview of global government.
    • Re:Grumble (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29, 2004 @11:20AM (#8703258)
      After all, DNS is a global system that is important the better part of the world. It clearly falls under the purview of global government.

      Actually, you can run your own DNS system which is totally independent of everyone else's if you want. The internet is cool like that.
      • Good point; Does this mean that some day we will pay to subscribe to certain "quality" DNS services? The strength of the internet (in that the infrastructure is easily duplicated and can be run by "anyone") is also a weak point that could lead to fragmentation....
        • Re:Grumble (Score:2, Interesting)

          by pershino (326342)
          Does this mean that some day we will pay to subscribe to certain "quality" DNS services?

          If you register a domain name under a TLD under the ICAAN scheme (com,net.org,name,biz,etc), then you are aleady paying for a "quality" DNS service. The truth is that ICAAN run a cartel for companies like verisign to make money in an artificial economy. If ICAAN was truely about providing a service to all Internet users, rather than a few greedy corporations, then it would include alternative TLDs, such as those operat

    • Not to troll or anything (honest!), but given recent scandals, I'm kind of leery about letting the UN run the Internet root servers.

      Otherwise I agree with your premise, and wouldn't mind an independant third-party organization basically running the 'net. Finding one without an agenda or finding one that is relatively corruption-proof is another story entirely.

    • Re:Grumble (Score:5, Troll)

      by _Sharp'r_ (649297) <sharper AT booksunderreview DOT com> on Monday March 29, 2004 @11:28AM (#8703348) Homepage Journal
      The other problem is that the UN is by no stretch of the imagination a "global government". It's a club for dictators to grand-stand while the powers from the end of WW II watch with their veto powers.
    • Re:Grumble (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Xenographic (557057) on Monday March 29, 2004 @11:34AM (#8703430) Homepage Journal
      The best thing anyone can do (ICANN included) is leave the internet the hell alone.

      The last thing we need is an international body trying to make us subject to all the laws in the world, in spite of the contradictions in law everywhere...

      For example, I wonder how many sites discussing the history of WW II would be allowed? Germany has some pretty strict laws about anything relating to the Nazis. It's not particularly clear to me that you could even, say, cite Hitler's writings or show pictures of historical artifacts without running afoul of it, even should you (rightfully!) condemn the horrible things that happened during that war.

      Besides, we already have countries fencing in their own little bits of the internet (first China, now France as I understand it... probably others, soon) ... the irony is that the internet is already too international for some countries.

      That said, DNS probably could be a bit smarter about, say, using unicode instead of ASCII for URLs... Though I have to wonder just how confusing that might make things if there are now who knows how many glyphs that all look too similar (new avenues for typosquatters, no doubt) ...
      • Re:Grumble (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ahillen (45680) on Monday March 29, 2004 @12:06PM (#8703784)
        For example, I wonder how many sites discussing the history of WW II would be allowed? Germany has some pretty strict laws about anything relating to the Nazis. It's not particularly clear to me that you could even, say, cite Hitler's writings or show pictures of historical artifacts without running afoul of it, even should you (rightfully!) condemn the horrible things that happened during that war.

        Considering the abundance of books, films etc. in Germany about the Nazi era I'm pretty sure that it is legal to use symbols, citations etc. in historical context (that is, as long as you don't use them to glorify national sozialism, make a Hitler fan page or whatever).

        I'm not entirely sure what all the tasks of ICANN are, but I guess regulating who can show what content under which domain never was part of them (and should never be).
        • Re:Grumble (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ultranova (717540) on Monday March 29, 2004 @12:53PM (#8704355)
          I'm not entirely sure what all the tasks of ICANN are, but I guess regulating who can show what content under which domain never was part of them (and should never be).

          But it could be. Delete someone's DNS records, and the site will drop off the Internet. Sure, it's still there, but it can't be accessed without knowing the IP address, and how many are going to start changing their DNS settings back and forth for different sites ?

          I can just see it - China lobbying for removal of all anti-Chinese-government websites, Germany demanding the removal of every website which mentions the words "Nazi" or "World War II", and everyone else trying to remove anything offensive for anyone. While I'm usually for international cooperation, I don't think taking DNS from a corporation who carries anyone who pays and giving it to a bunch of well-and-not-so-well-meaning politicians is a good idea.

          We must have a working Freenet [freenetproject.org] before this comes to pass - the Net is too important to leave to politicians to rule.

          • Germany demanding the removal of every website which mentions the words "Nazi" or "World War II"

            AFAIK, Germany is only against misrepresenting the facts of the war and holocaust (such as denying the holocaust or misrepresenting the numbers killed), not simply mentioning it. And in fact a history writer in the UK got taken to court for doing the same thing and was found against and denounced by the judge. It's not like Germany are against ever mentioning the war.

            • And in fact a history writer in the UK got taken to court for doing the same thing and was found against and denounced by the judge.

              If it's the case I'm thinking of, the one described in the book The Holocaust on Trial [amazon.com] , then it happened a little differently.

              In her book Denying the Holocaust [amazon.com] , An American historian named Deborah Lipstadt accused prominent Holocaust-denier David Irving of lying about the facts (about the Holocaust having happened).

              Irving sued her for libel, saying there wasn't enough p
      • That said, DNS probably could be a bit smarter about, say, using unicode instead of ASCII for URLs... Though I have to wonder just how confusing that might make things if there are now who knows how many glyphs that all look too similar

        Unicode has solutions to that, namely the normal forms. There's four of them (composed normal form, discomposed normal form and their compatibility variants). You only have to choose one of those and convert any other string to it.

        That being said, there's already a system

      • Re:Grumble (Score:4, Informative)

        by C10H14N2 (640033) on Monday March 29, 2004 @04:10PM (#8706886)
        Last I checked, the United Nations never forced German law on anyone. It's just a complete misreading of the UN to view it as imposing one nation's laws on another. It's a negotiating table and all parties must assent. That's the whole reason the Kyoto protocol and the whole UNFCCC has had such difficulties. There's no such thing as the UN foisting anyone's idea of anything on anyone unless they agree to it. Peacekeepers must be invited. Weapons Inspectors must be given permission. All of the enforcement tools the UN has are only as strong as the member states who choose to participate in those actions. The U.N. is not a superstate. That's it's greatest strength and it's greatest weakness.

        That said, there is a great similarity between the structure of ICANN and that of, say, the security council. Leadership is rotational on an international scale. ICANN is not just some static cabal hiding away behind LAX machinating on world domination. That common portrayal seems to come from those who wouldn't recognize ICANN if they were standing on the corner of Mindanao and Admiralty facing north and looking upward 50 feet.
      • Re:Grumble (Score:2, Insightful)

        It's not particularly clear to me that you could even, say, cite Hitler's writings or show pictures of historical artifacts without running afoul of it, even should you (rightfully!) condemn the horrible things that happened during that war.

        The reason why that is not quite clear to you, is that perhaps because you have never been to Germany or spoken to any Germans who grew up in the post-war era...?

        Look, I'm not German either, but I know that it was (is?) quite common that kids in Germany would read

    • Re:Grumble (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29, 2004 @11:37AM (#8703467)
      Not to derail, but please remember that the UN is not an elected body. Here in the West, we hold as self-evident the idea that legitimate government can only arise out of the will of the people. The various ambassadors and ministers that make up the UN General Assembly and Security Council are not elected, either directly or indirectly.

      The United Nations is not and cannot be a world government. It's not a government at all. It lacks the legitimate authority to govern anything.

      I don't wanna get into a big thing here. I just want to be clear on this.
    • Re:Grumble (Score:4, Insightful)

      by squarooticus (5092) on Monday March 29, 2004 @11:45AM (#8703555) Homepage
      It clearly falls under the purview of global government.

      Yikes! Thank goodness the UN isn't actually a global government with sovereign power over anyone. The UN is basically a soap box for third-world dictators to scapegoat developed countries for the problems their own corrupt governments are actually responsible for. The UN really needs to be reformed (e.g., France out of the security council, Germany, Japan, and India in would be a better approximation of great powers; and of course countries without consensual governments should have no vote in the general assembly or be eligible to chair any committees), but I don't see this happening anytime soon.

      However, even with reforms, the UN should have no power over the structure of the internet: the internet today is essentially just a large NAP of private networks, and has none of its own structure. Even the use of ICANN's private DNS servers by the vast majority of users on the internet is just convention, and any country or organization can run their own root servers and lobby others to use them. Any attempts to centrally control these systems will ultimately result in the system's primary users (those who will no doubt be screwed by the UN's dictator-centric model) routing around the regulations.

      Bottom line: thank goodness the internet is peer-to-peer. The users truly have the power, and don't have to take it up the ass from a central authority.

      Cheers,
      Kyle
      • The UN really needs to be reformed (e.g., France out of the security council, Germany, Japan, and India in would be a better approximation of great powers; and of course countries without consensual governments should have no vote in the general assembly or be eligible to chair any committees)

        Better still, no defense counsel and give the general assembly some real powers.
        And as far as all this going on about the French is concerned, I think some people need to remember that the most Security Counsel ve

    • Re:Grumble (Score:3, Insightful)

      by morelife (213920)
      The UN really should either take over the DNS system

      The Domain Name System is a large, multifaceted "thing". The UN is simply not qualified to either own it, or regulate it.

      The UN should have a voice in some parts of the process, especially to ensure uniformity among nations, and to ensure that third world countries who spend most of their valuable assets trying to find food, let alone Internet access/presence, don't get shafted as regulations evolve and the Internet grows.

      What needs pure reform is ICA
    • are you out of your fscking mind. have you heard about the oil-for-food fiasco [washingtontimes.com]. please. i'd rather have the boys from enron dole out domains. okay, it's a tie.
    • "DNS is a global system that is important the better part of the world. It clearly falls under the purview of global government."

      Ever hear of the story of the eggs and the basket? If you thought ICANN was a poorly managed and undemocratic beaurocracy, try the UN.

      Besides DNS isn't a mandated or an official system. I could set up my own naming system at any point and translate yourdomainname into some other real address. AOL has done just exactly that with their AOL keywords. If I wanted I could hack mo
  • by Maestro4k (707634) on Monday March 29, 2004 @11:17AM (#8703203) Journal
    • Other critics say ICANN is too slow in making decisions and adopting new technology, like ways to transmit Chinese and Arabic characters. VeriSign has sued the organisation, saying it is standing in the way of lucrative new services.
    I wonder if these same critics have paid any attention to just how quickly the UN moves on things. Yes it's an international body, but it also brings even more petty arguments to the table because of that. While ICANN's far from perfect, I doubt things would be any faster with the UN taking over, slower maybe, but not faster.
    • by millwall (622730) on Monday March 29, 2004 @11:24AM (#8703298)
      "While ICANN's far from perfect, I doubt things would be any faster with the UN taking over, slower maybe, but not faster."

      I don't think these issues have any need for a fast paced organisation. I would rather prefer a stable, yet slow organasation to handle these issues.
        • I don't think these issues have any need for a fast paced organisation. I would rather prefer a stable, yet slow organasation to handle these issues.
        I agree, but if you read the quote from the article I posted you'd see that one of the critics arguments is that ICANN is too slow, so the UN should take over. My point was that the UN is unlikely to be faster, so this particular criticism is unlikely to be resolved.
    • by S3D (745318) on Monday March 29, 2004 @11:28AM (#8703346)
      And UN is suspectible to political pressue considerably more then ICANN. What a can of worms will open if UN will deside wich country should have wich domain name suffixes, and who shouldn't have suffixes at all. And Taiwan is not an UN member at all. What if UN start removing existing suffixes for political reasons ?
      • by Maestro4k (707634) on Monday March 29, 2004 @11:32AM (#8703401) Journal
        • And UN is suspectible to political pressue considerably more then ICANN. What a can of worms will open if UN will deside wich country should have wich domain name suffixes, and who shouldn't have suffixes at all. And Taiwan is not an UN member at all. What if UN start removing existing suffixes for political reasons ?
        An incredibly good point, I hope someone mods you up. I'm sure that China would start the pressure to have Taiwan removed immediately and I'm sure Israel would start lobbying for Palenstine (.ps IIRC) to lose its domain. Actually the net would probably come to a screeching halt while the UN fought over who deserved a domain or not.

        Despite the concerns expressed in the article by critics, the US has taken a fairly non-political oversight role with the Internet and ICANN. True that might not stay that way, but at least as things stand now, ICANN is probably far less political than any UN governed Internet body would ever be.

        • We need to remove the idea of "deserving" a domain name. We need to remove the idea of "leasing" a domain name. In other words, we need property rights for DNS entries.

          I believe that we should auction off the entire DNS spectrum permanently. Then, you have a property transfer fee, and let people split up their property as they like.

          So, for example, you could buy .bax through .baz, and anything in that range would go to your DNS servers. If someone wanted to buy and you wanted to sell, you could sell off

        • Non-political, are you kidding? You think that giving a TLD to Palestine isn't making a major political statement? I think it was the right political statement, but that's another thing.

          In fact, the ICANN country codes are based on ISO 3166 [fu-berlin.de]. It was the maintainers of ISO 3166 that gave Palestine a country code but not, for example, the Basque country or Chechnya.

      • Um, it's not ICANN that decides which countries get domains. They already abdicated. Their policy is "if ISO says it's a country, that's good enough for us."
    • Does that sound like a legitimate argument for the UN taking over. It seems like more of a technical problem involving both the DNS software and platform it runs on (don't know how familiar people are with the software here...) And the VeriSign thing, that is the most blatantly absurd quote. An obvious money grab by VeriSign! Does this mean the UN as a vested interest in which search engine my URL typo goes to? -d
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I doubt things would be any faster with the UN taking over, slower maybe, but not faster.

      This really isn't a fair criticism, as the UN has often been quick and highly efficienty when it counts. For instance, when the UN administered the Iraqi Oil for Food program, it oversaw a highly successful program [nationalreview.com] for redirecting money intended for starving children and judiciously placed it into the bank accounts of UN officials, international leaders who helped prop up UN policies, critics of US and British adminis
      • Do you have anything to back this up? And what are the mods smoking today? We've got a AC Troll Hawk, quoting another Hawk, who gets +5 Insightful? Give me a brake... Btw, /. is supposed to be on technical issues, not political rantings, that's what indymedia's for.
  • If (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) on Monday March 29, 2004 @11:18AM (#8703217)
    I just hope that if the UN gets involved, they come in against Verisign and any other large businesses who wish to screw with things. I'm not all for the UN controlling things, mind you. But if they do have some say, I hope its on the side of reason and open standards and fair, reasonable practices.
    • Re:If (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Maestro4k (707634) on Monday March 29, 2004 @11:22AM (#8703271) Journal
      • I just hope that if the UN gets involved, they come in against Verisign and any other large businesses who wish to screw with things. I'm not all for the UN controlling things, mind you. But if they do have some say, I hope its on the side of reason and open standards and fair, reasonable practices.
      Actually the real question would be would the UN have any actual POWER to enforce the rules they set. They don't have much power now, so UN mandates get ignored quite often when it's convenient, so Verisign would probably just do what it wanted and ignore the UN mandates. It could actually end up being much WORSE than it is now.
      • Re:If (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) on Monday March 29, 2004 @11:37AM (#8703468)
        The doesn't have any real power for a couple reasons. First, since it's a conglomerate "government" it relies completely on the power of its constituents. And rarely has it wanted to do anything that its powerful constituents didn't want to do already (do to veto power and a few weighty members). So when some powerful countries who would already be taking an action go through the UN, they just do what they originally set out to do with UN uniforms on.

        Secondly, the UN doesn't have any real power because, while everyone is willing to participate, no one is willing to really give up power of their nation to another ruling body. I doubt that will ever happen peacefully.

        I would like to see more discussion from the UN about what might help developing countries, or what might foster more online growth - and then see that input taken into account by internet regulators. But I think that's about the best the UN could do to help.
        • by caluml (551744)
          From your .sig: Newton, Galileo, Kepler, Dirac, Faraday, Planck, Kelvin, Maxwell and Einstein believed in God. So do I.

          So what? People thought the earth was flat, and that the sun went round the earth.

        • Re:If (Score:3, Insightful)

          by C10H14N2 (640033)
          Thank God someone here "gets it."

          The reason people complain about the U.N. is generally that they haven't a clue what to EXPECT it to do. There are things the U.N. does very, very well through EcoSoc and there are things the U.N. isn't equipped for at all (see: waging war, NATO). There are dubious issues behind the IBRD and the IMF, but they _do_ serve a purpose as no other entities can. Then there's the ICC. Without the U.N. we wouldn't have created that venue for trying all of the world's Slobos and Sadd
        • Secondly, the UN doesn't have any real power because, while everyone is willing to participate, no one is willing to really give up power of their nation to another ruling body. I doubt that will ever happen peacefully.

          Allow me to introduce the European Union.

          Perhaps the UN was too bold a step, since it clearly has little power now. Eventually, I think (hope) we will see more EU type alliances, as countries move toward similar notions of fundamental rights, and less developed nations catch up to the res

          • How many delusions of grandeur [hazegray.org] does everyone else have?
  • by Guysdrinkingbeer (207045) on Monday March 29, 2004 @11:19AM (#8703243)
    From the article
    "... whether the internet should be governed and, if so, how."
    With all the problems that go on in the UN why are they a better choice then the US. The article has some valid points, but the current system is pretty fair.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      With all the problems that go on in the UN why are they a better choice then the US.

      Because they don't represent a single nation state.

      Can you please explain to me why a nation that predominantly speaks English and Spanish aren't putting in any effort to resolving issues for Chinese and Arbic speakers?

      Oh wait, there's no need to explain it to me - it's fucking obvious.

    • by pubjames (468013) on Monday March 29, 2004 @11:35AM (#8703437)
      With all the problems that go on in the UN why are they a better choice then the US.

      Because then it wouldn't be a single country forcing its view of how things should be done on everyone else?

      The UN has got a lot of criticism recently for being slow. Of course it is quicker and easier to make unilateral decisions. Getting consensus with a large group takes time.

      The UN might be in considerably better shape if the USA put it weight behind it and didn't try to put it down all the time. There has been a lot more UN bashing recently since Bush got into power. It's not really suprising when you consider he had hardly been outside of the USA before he became president - an increadible state of affaird for a country that traditionally has been so good at foreign policy.
      • There's been Americans wanting to pull out of the U.N. for decades.

        But how about this: I don't mind "sharing" the internet, but it IS a U.S. creation established by the U.S. government.

        Can you elaborate on all the views the U.S. government is forcing on you via the internet?
    • by linoleo (718385) on Monday March 29, 2004 @11:38AM (#8703474) Journal
      With all the problems that go on in the UN why are they a better choice then the US.

      With all due respect, the main problem going on in the UN *is* the US. The UN aren't perfect, but in fact they're doing quite well, and would be doing great if they weren't undercut at every turn by US administrations who use UN-bashing to score cheap popularity points with their voters. (Something similar can be seen in Europe with respect to the EU: the national governments like to take credit for any positive effects while blaming the negatives on Brussels.)
    • I think the better point is about the "whether", not the how. The system is unfair as long as the control is centralized. Distribute the system, and DISBAND ICANN. It's a useless body, and once governments, or even corporations take control of their online feifdoms, like they do here in meatspace. (Let people buy and sell top level domains, why not... get all possible one out there and let the market take over...)
  • hmmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spangineer (764167) on Monday March 29, 2004 @11:20AM (#8703252) Homepage
    How much could the U.N. actually do that the U.S. isn't doing now? I understand the appearance issue - this way it might have a bit more international legitimacy, but realistically, on a practical level, I don't see much coming out of this. The language compatibility thing is interesting, and that could possibly turn out better when working through the U.N., but I'm skeptical. To me it all sounds like a bunch of dippy diplomats are talking about something they don't understand. But wait - isn't that the U.N.'s new mission?
      • The language compatibility thing is interesting, and that could possibly turn out better when working through the U.N., but I'm skeptical.
      While I don't know the specifics, given Verisign's past actions with Site Finder alone, I suspect the problems about multi-language Internet getting implemented are more Verisign than ICANN. Verisign is probably wanting to do it in a proprietary way that they can make money off of, and fighting any alternative methods that would be open standards.
  • by amigoro (761348) on Monday March 29, 2004 @11:29AM (#8703362) Homepage Journal
    Some countries and activists argue that ICANN is too close to the United States and want the United Nations to take a greater role in regulating the internet.

    I sure have heard [theage.com.au] the term "United Nations to take a greater role" line before.

    The gathering grew from December's UN World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva, where the world's leaders failed to reach consensus on governing the Internet and punted the issue to a task force that is supposed to report to Annan in 2005.

    When was the last time world leaders manage to reach a consensus?

    It ended Saturday with a closed-door meeting of diplomats.

    Transparency of internation politics.

    Computer industry officials at the meeting were skeptical of a UN role, but they agreed that some kind of international body could be useful in coordinating language issues, security and getting the Internet into developing countries.

    Heard that before [dailyvidette.org]

    Most believed an international body had no right to regulate the content of Web sites, a concern for countries like China and North Korea

    And not the US? Oh wait, they have DMCA [blackboxvoting.com]

    "ICANN has to be more international and it has to be more transparent," said Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, vice chairman of the UN Information and Communication Technologies Task Force.

    UN Transparency = Closed Door Meetings

    ICANN also chooses who controls the country codes -- like ".us" or ".uk" -- that define each country's piece of real estate in cyberspace.

    The rightful code for Britain should be GB. But the British snatched UK, which should have gone to Ukraine.

    It has yet to decide the future of Iraq's ".iq".

    Bush's War Against IQ ;)

    Twomey denies any US government influence in ICANN's work.
    "I have never once seen the United States' foreign policy have any impact on this process," he said.

    deja vu?

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    • The rightful code for Britain should be GB. But the British snatched UK, which should have gone to Ukraine.

      To be fair, these codes are defined by ISO at a level that has nothing to do with the Internet. DNS merely exposes those country codes in the DNS for use by those ISO-defined entities.
      • As explained here [globalfindata.com]: The ISO symbol for the United Kingdom is GB. Both the Ukraine and the United Kingdom wanted the two-letter code UK, so the ISO solved the problem by giving the Ukraine UA and the United Kingdom GB.

        That is probably why the Sterling Pound is written as GBP, and not UKP. And the official reasons given by ISO are:

        Dear Mr xxxxx,

        Thanks for your query concerning the ISO 3166-1 Alpha-2 code.

        In the start-up phase of the Internet IANA created a ccTLD .uk. This was done before Jon Postel of

        • ISO 3166-1 should not reflect country name components giving information on the political status of a country e. g. "Republic", "Kingdom", "United", "Democratic", "Socialist"

          So that's why .us isn't used so much. We had to go with .com, .net, .edu, .gov, and .mil.

        • Thanks for posting that, as I wasn't aware of this history. Either way, this is something the ICANN inherited. It's somewhat difficult to change the name of a country's TLD that's in widespread use, so I don't fault them for perpetuating it.
    • The rightful code for Britain should be GB
      And what about Northern Ireland?

      But the British snatched UK, which should have gone to Ukraine.
      Did Ukraine exist as a seperate country at the time .uk was chosen?

    • Most believed an international body had no right to regulate the content of Web sites, a concern for countries like China and North Korea

      And not the US? Oh wait, they have DMCA [blackboxvoting.com]

      There's a minor difference between an overzealous copyright act and a government which wishes to suppress any inkling of free speech or communication to/from its citizens it cannot control and watch for information contrary to its policies(or that it considers subversive, such as "let's have elections").

      They

    • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Monday March 29, 2004 @11:48AM (#8703590) Journal
      ...the full name of the country is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or the UK for short.

      If I have to explain why the UK has the legitimate claim on the .uk TLD then you've got bigger problems than TLD country codes.

      Yes, people (including politicians and the media) treat the terms "The United Kingdom" and "Great Britain" as though they are interchangeable, but I think you'll find they do the same thing with "The United States [of America]" and "America" too.

      But if you're reasoning held true then the TLD country code for the US should be .am or some such.

      Bottom line: the UK's use of the .uk TLD is entirely appropriate. As is the US's use of the .us TLD.

      Oh, and by the way, diplomacy is rarely about reaching a concensus; it's about reaching a compromise: it's just a pity that some governments have conveniently chosen to forget that.
  • by Dark Lord Seth (584963) on Monday March 29, 2004 @11:32AM (#8703393) Journal
    Twomey: So, you people want part of our little scheme?
    Annan: More or less, yes.
    Twomey: What if I tell you to shove your head up your own ass?
    Annan: I'm not sure my friend would appreciate that.
    Twomey: Really now? I've got Verisign behind me.
    Annan: Mario, say hi.
    Mario Monti: Hi!
    Annan: See that war chest with 500 million euros behind him? The one with the MS logo?
    Twomey: You know, this whole scheme involving you sounds interesting all of the sudden. Do tell.
    • Whilst funny, Mario Monti is the Competition Commissioner for the EU (European Union), whilst Annan is from the UN (United Nations). They are not, even remotely, the same thing.
  • by gartogg (317481) <sdaman AT mindspring DOT om DOT tld> on Monday March 29, 2004 @11:33AM (#8703413) Homepage Journal
    The question that I would have about the regulatory system in place is that if the government were to attempt to "force the disruption of internet traffic to entire countries by deleting them from central computers," would the commercial hosters and systems continue to accept dns information that would be bad for their customers? It seems that the internet is commercial enough that in leiu of government oversight, it might be better to allow a evolved commercial alliance govern the systems.

    It is a bit silly to allow a small thing like DNS to create such a problem in the first place. When we go to IPv6, it might make more sense to use URL forwarding to IP's, and bypass most of the regulatory system in the first place... Allow other countries to maintain permanent fixed DNS servers for their own IP ranges, and have the assignations know, so that all other central controls are unneeded. If the US wants to control .com, .net, .gov, .org, let them. Sell off all remaining 2 and 3 letter combination top level domains using whatever system you want, and then dissolve ICANN. It just makes sense,if the internet is supposed to belong to the users.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    dissing the UN for?? What can be so wrong with having a multi country organisation controlling the internet??? The only problem i can see is america sticking its head in and declaring war on the UN and the internet or something as stupid.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29, 2004 @11:37AM (#8703472)
    "International law is to law what professional wrestling is to wrestling; no one over the age of nine mistakes it for the real thing."

    Time Magazine, opening line in an article about Somalia from 1993.
  • by fuzzybunny (112938) on Monday March 29, 2004 @11:38AM (#8703478) Homepage Journal
    ICANN's not perfect, the US govt. is not perfect, but to be perfectly honest, Auerbach's right when he says that the US has never really taken a ham-handed approach to the Internet and to "cutting off" anyone it doesn't like.

    Sounds to me like the lesser of two evils--we've all seen the types of politics involved in the UN. Frankly, I'm not entirely sure I _want_ more democracy in how the "Internet" is run. And let's be straight about it--they're not talking about peering arrangements, IP address space, whatnot--they're talking about the DNS.

    The current hierarchical system has its problems, but the increasing number of non-US root servers should at least disabuse anyone of the notion that an overly zealous US could, at the drop of a hat, just turn things off.

    What I'd like to see from the UN, maybe, is increased sponsorship of things like discussion on proposed standards, dissemination of information, encouragement of the spread of technology and freedom of information to certain restrictive third world countries, whatnot. I'd rather not have it involved in the technical development of our dear, functional, essentially stupid network.
    • Sounds to me like the lesser of two evils--we've all seen the types of politics involved in the UN

      What makes this even worse, is that when some one says "the UN should have a greater role in regulating the Internet" they are being vague in the extreme. Have a look at the UN system [un.org], there is an incredible range of how various bodies operate - so what exactly are they thinking about? Surely not a politicized talking shop? Then what, something like the ILO, ITU or World Bank? How would it increase techn
  • I can think of no better way of hastening the demise of DNS than by turning it into a truly political asset. Once technical control and guidance over DNS is turned over to governments already keen to warp it for commercial interests, what remains of its technical usefulness will dwindle.

    This gives us the perfect opportunity (and finally incentive) to come up with something better.
  • "The first time anyone tried to do that, there would be such a hue and cry," said Michael Aisenberg, director of government relations for VeriSign, an ICANN contractor that keeps the master list of domain name suffixes like ".com." "You would be such a pariah, you would have your role as a custodian ripped away from you."

    Nice to know that someone at Verisign has some understanding of that.

  • "Annan" ?? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Gothmolly (148874)
    Geesh, it's not like he's Linus or Madonna or Jesus. Coffee-cup Annan doesn't have that level of recognition, at least in the US. Oh wait, -1, US-Centric. Oh wait, /. is mostly a US site! 50% will think this is a troll, 50% will think that this is Insightful. What to do, what to do...
  • NGO? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by utlemming (654269) on Monday March 29, 2004 @11:55AM (#8703677) Homepage
    The only way that it would work would be for a NGO to be formed. But honestly, I think that most Americans and Europeans would be more comfortable if the ICANN powers were turned over to NATO than to the UN. We're talking politics, and even though most of us /.ers are ideologs, we still need to recogonize the importance of politics. The US is not going to let the internet out of our hands. Not with out protecting the interests of the US. Most likely the future of the internet is going to be decided not by the UN, but by a consortuim of internet nations in treaty negotiations. Whether or not the UN takes over the internet will not solve the issues surrounding the internet. All the issues, such as a spam, porn, fraud, et al., will have to be resolved via treaties anyway. You might as well form a treaty organization that is devoted solely to the internet with teeth.

    The next question: how many people actually understand the term legitimacy? (In the poli sci realm it is defined as the "Legitimation refers to the process by which power is not only institutionalized but more importantly is given moral grounding. Legitimacy (or authority) is what is accorded to such a stable distribution of power when it is considered valid." (From Oxfords Reference Online). The fact is just because the US citizenry may not consider the UN legitimate and the rest of the world considers it legit, does not mean that it is any more legit for the United States. To claim that the UN is legit because the rest of the world claims it is, would be like arguing that Isreal's rule of Palestine is legit just because most of Ireal says it is. The point is that legitimacy changes from demographic to demographic. What one nation may consider legit does not lend itself to force a legitimacy stand on another. And just because the US considers ICANN a legit insitution does not may it any more legit in the world.

  • by Mulletproof (513805) on Monday March 29, 2004 @12:09PM (#8703838) Homepage Journal
    I'm sure this will inevitably be interpreted as flamebait, but do we really want them dictating policy on the internet? Maybe some other 3rd party, but the UN???? This organization doesn't have a spine. It's corrupt. It happily changes it's tune when politically expedient. Surely there's somebody better out there...

    • This organization doesn't have a spine. It's corrupt. It happily changes it's tune when politically expedient.

      Because, clearly, the U.S. government is free of all these faults. :)

      I think the UN gets an unfair rap. I hear a lot of people speak with the strange idea that the UN is a single cohesive entity, somewhere else, who arbitrarily and unreasonably attempts to impose decisions upon them. Maybe this attitude arises from the habitual American distrust of government.

      The UN serves as a convenient poli
    • "Because, clearly, the U.S. government is free of all these faults"
      _______________________________

      Wow, that was amazingly predictable. I didn't specify the US government or a US company. I didn't specify a a Uguandaranian company for that matter. I just said there's got to be a better organization than the UN to handle this. It could be a company in Genevafor all I care. You think they've gotten a bad rap, but nobody respects them because they have a demonstrated repeated inability to not follow through. O
      • Wow, that was amazingly predictable.

        Well, if you'd read the rest of my post, you'd see I'm arguing that the UN is used as a scapegoat. Whenever a country does something respectable, it takes the credit. Whenever no one does anything, it's because "the UN did not follow through". For these reasons I feel that the charge that the UN is a toothless organization is overblown.

        I mentioned the U.S. because that is the status quo. I did this not to argue that you were being a reactionary by favouring the sta
  • I'm sure the UN will handle domain names as skillfully and impartially as they handled the Iraqi oil-for-food program. [nytimes.com]
  • Horrible (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zushiba (676531)
    The UN has no business with the Internet they just want to control everything. Their biggest backers are the CFR who already control every bit of major media in America. If you look at the list of CFR members you will see them holding very powerful positions in every broadcast station, magazine and newspaper. Now if they control the internet than we have no recourse but to listen to their propaganda. The UN makes its actions clear that it is indeed trying to establish a world government it's written up in t

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