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The Internet Government Politics

EU, UN to Wrestle Internet Control From US 1974

Posted by Zonk
from the fight-fight-fight-fight-fight dept.
Anonymous Coward writes "The Guardian is reporting that the EU, obviously unimpressed with the US's refusal to relinguish control of the Internet, will be forming several comittees and forums with a mind to forcibly remove control of the Internet from the United States." From the article: "Old allies in world politics, representatives from the UK and US sat just feet away from each other, but all looked straight ahead as Hendon explained the EU had decided to end the US government's unilateral control of the internet and put in place a new body that would now run this revolutionary communications medium. The issue of who should control the net had proved an extremely divisive issue, and for 11 days the world's governments traded blows. For the vast majority of people who use the internet, the only real concern is getting on it. But with the internet now essential to countries' basic infrastructure - Brazil relies on it for 90% of its tax collection - the question of who has control has become critical."
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EU, UN to Wrestle Internet Control From US

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  • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:46AM (#13729948) Homepage Journal
    I'm not one to regularly use strong profanities, but fuck 'em. Negotiations are one thing, and the EU/UN can feel free to negotiate until they're blue in the face. But if they want to force the issue, I'm thinking that we should "remind" our foreign allies that a country with our military might cannot and will not be forced. If need be, I highly recommend that the US resign from the UN and see how long it holds together without our monetary support.

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The internet root servers are working fine. The UN has presented no compelling arguments as to why it should be turned over to an overly beaurocratic entity that has a poor track record for making joint ventures work. In absence of a compelling argument, the only thing that the UN should hear is, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

    Keep in mind that the root servers are currently under the control of a private organization. While the servers themselves may reside in the US, the organization that controls them is a true international entity. The US government does not exert direct control over ICANN, and will not agree to do so in order to satisfy a UN hissy fit.

    I can only speak for myself, but I would be ashamed of my government's actions if I lived in one of the UN countries that is pushing this resolution. I think this quote from the article sums it up:

    "The idea of the council is so vague. It's not clear to me that governments know what to do about anything at this stage apart from get in the way of things that other people do."

    Amen.
    • by lawpoop (604919) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:57AM (#13730099) Homepage Journal
      Your argument is very sloppy. At the beginning you note that this is a push from the UN and the EU, but then continue on solely in an anti-UN tirade. All of your anti-UN arguments cannot necessarily be applied to the EU, so you are missing about half of what you need to convince someone who disagrees with you.
      • Your argument, sir, is none at all. You have censured me for having incomplete information, yet you have failed to complete it yourself.

        As for the UN and EU split, that was a distinction made by the fine article, and one I only carried as far as the article did. Beyond that, we are speaking purely of the UN. The UN *has* made resolutions, then failed to act on them. The UN *has* censured the United States for acting on those resolutions. The perfect example of this has been the Iraq war, which was a UN resolution that the UN got upset about when the US took action. Do you deny these things? If so, please be more detailed.

        It's easy to say, "ha ha, you're wrong", but it's much more difficult to carry on a reasonable ccnversation.
        • by kisak (524062) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:49AM (#13730879) Homepage Journal
          The UN *has* censured the United States for acting on those resolutions. The perfect example of this has been the Iraq war, which was a UN resolution that the UN got upset about when the US took action. Do you deny these things? If so, please be more detailed.

          France (and other security councle members) said before voting on the last UN resolution that it was not allowing it to be used as an excuse for military action. The resolution was made to force Saddam to allow weapon inspectors. If military action would be necessary a new UN resolution would be have to be made with a new vote. The US went anyway without such a resolution, and has got the ass kicked in Iraq with a war done under false pretenses. Now the US administration is using the UN resolution as an excuse for invading a sovereign nation!!! Of course, it is the same administration that is trying to undermind UN on every turn. Make up your mind, either you follow what UN says and you don't invade, or you invade and take responsibility for your own action without blaming the UN. Show some balls.

      • by RealProgrammer (723725) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:44AM (#13730820) Homepage Journal

        You miss the principle of Charity. Rather than call his logic invalid because he started with "EU/UN" and then dropped it in favor of just "UN", you should charitably add the "EU/" yourself and see if his argument holds up. Otherwise, you're just nitpicking at spelling errors at best or launching a veiled ad hominem "UN-hating gingoistic bigot!" attack at worst. As always win you ignore Charity, you may win points with the audience, but logic isn't a popularity contest.

        That said, you completely failed to address his major arguments, which were:

        1. If it ain't broke, don't fix it
        2. ICANN is a private company
        3. The UN is not the right body for this
        4. That the UN, an American creation, should now try to bully the US into giving up control of the Internet, another American creation, seems to us the height of arrogance.

        There are obvious counterpoints to all of these, and I only consider #3 to be worthwhile. But you didn't make those counterpoints at all.

        What is about to happen is that the Silver Age of the Internet is about to end. The Golden Age was before the web; the Silver age has lasted since '91 or so. Now we'll see fragmentation and provincialism. Whether that is good or bad is an open question, but it will surely be different.

        What's really at stake in this struggle is who will have the power to block network access to and from a given country. Some countries are afraid of the US having that power, which they would "never" use, while the US is afraid of the UN having that power, which they also would "never" use.

        It's neither more, nor less, than that.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      WHAT monetary support? The US is billions upon billions of dollars in arrears with regard to UN dues. Besides, based on American Foreign Policy, the UN would probably be very thankful for the US dropping out... then you'll have to pay for your own messes when you invade sovereign nations under false pretences.

      The fact is that the Internet has moved beyond the national level. Whether you like it or not, the US' role WILL WANE. Taking a hard-line stance will, potentially, simply ensure that the rest of the wo
    • by Malc (1751) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:05AM (#13730223)
      "I'm not one to regularly use strong profanities, but fuck 'em. Negotiations are one thing, and the EU/UN can feel free to negotiate until they're blue in the face. But if they want to force the issue, I'm thinking that we should "remind" our foreign allies that a country with our military might cannot and will not be forced. If need be, I highly recommend that the US resign from the UN and see how long it holds together without our monetary support."

      Let's see how long the US holds together without the monetary support of the rest of the world. If countries like China were to just stop buying your government debt (let alone trying to get rid of it) then you won't even be able to pay for your mighty military. You've already given up control of your country and destiny to foreign powers who could crush you and the global economy if they had to.

      And people with your attitude wonder why there is so much rampant anti-Americanism around the world today. You're too arrogant and conceited to see it. Thank goodness 99% of the Americans I know are fantastic people and don't live up to this stereotype.
      • by Shakrai (717556) * on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:15AM (#13730375) Journal

        If countries like China were to just stop buying your government debt (let alone trying to get rid of it) then you won't even be able to pay for your mighty military.

        Actually we weren't using deficit spending to pay for our military (or anything else for that matter) until Dubya took office and gave a giant tax cut to the rich. Based on that fact I'd say that we really don't require you buying up all our debt to pay for our war machine.

        And people with your attitude wonder why there is so much rampant anti-Americanism around the world today. You're too arrogant and conceited to see it.

        And people with your attitude wonder why Americans distrust the UN and dislike Europe. I've heard Europeans pick apart every part of America from our welfare system, our politics, our religious beliefs, our support of Israel, our banking system, etc etc etc. You call us arrogant? You are too arrogant to think that just maybe we are right once in awhile.

      • by QuestorTapes (663783) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:41AM (#13730768)
        > Let's see how long the US holds together without the monetary support of the
        > rest of the world.

        Just a point; if anyone tried to destroy the US monetarily, the effect on the rest of the workl would be easily as bad. The dependency works both ways. Yes, the US is dependent of foreign trade, but most of the nations we trade with are dependent on it as well. Some few nations would just suffer loss of income and products, but many would suffer pains equal to some of the worst natural disasters.

        > And people with your attitude wonder why there is so much rampant
        > anti-Americanism around the world today. You're too arrogant and conceited
        > to see it.

        Just a point. There are a few hundred million people in the US. All of them are not arrogant and conceited, any more than all the French are rude and smelly, all Muslims are terrorists, or all the Chinese are great at math.

        Yes, there are legitimate grievances against the US. But much or what is perceived as US arrogance is merely the US attempting to retain it's own constitutional structure. A large portion of the world wants the US to tear up our constitution and remake ourselves in the image of the EU. And we aren't interested, now or ever.

        > Thank goodness 99% of the Americans I know are fantastic people and
        > don't live up to this stereotype.

        Good to hear it. But stereotypes are like that. Most of the what the world knows about the US is garbage, heavily influenced by Hollywood. Just as most of what most Americans know about the Middle East is from Hollywood bull and news reports showing scenes of war and terror.

        Thanks for your observations.
      • by Alex P Keaton in da (882660) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:48AM (#13730874) Homepage
        Thank goodness 99% of the Americans I know are fantastic people and don't live up to this stereotype.
        I am assuming that the majority of Americans you know are not from internet message boards.... :)
    • by linuxhansl (764171) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:11AM (#13730312)
      Maybe you should consider who is pushing who in this issue. The US have been repeatedly called upon to relinguish control about the root servers.
      The clear statement was: "No, we will not". Some folks ask: "Well, why not?"
      Now the EU and other countries will install their own root DNS servers and that's the end of the story.

      No need to get emotional about it.

      • by sane? (179855) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @02:22PM (#13732746)
        The thing to realise is that this has been on the cards for a long time. The problem is not a unilateral action from the EU and the UN - but rather the US going back on stated agreements.

        Back in July the US surprised everyone by saying that despite the previous agreement that ICANN control of root servers would end in Sept 2006, they would instead keep control into the future, not matter what everyone else thought. [theregister.co.uk]

        Everyone else was understandable miffed, particularly when they saw it was being driven politically, by Bush, and that ICANN continued to be ICANN and were trying to tax domain registrations, including country specific domain registrations [theregister.co.uk] (.de, .uk, etc.)

        Work was ongoing to redefine things on the run up to the expected ending of ICANN control, including automated management functions [theregister.co.uk] and working groups to define future structure [theregister.co.uk]. I'm sure Bush and his fundamentalist Christian take on the .XXX domain [theregister.co.uk] was just the last straw.

        I expect that given the preceeding agreement, and the relative simplicity of changing control of the root servers that live outside the US, the UN, EU, and the rest of the world expected negotiation at the recent PrepCom3 conference [theregister.co.uk]. What they got however was arrogance and statements that made it clear the US failed to understand they didn't have the choice to ignore past agreements.

        So, the timetable is clear. ICANNs contract ends between March-Sept 2006 and during that time the new body will take control. Given the likelihood that they won't charge the registrar tax (remember that automated system), just about everyone will switch and Bush will end up with egg on his face. Thus I'll bet that in the real summit in November he will have to give in an acceptable change, since he really has no control of the matter.

    • by just_another_sean (919159) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:15AM (#13730371) Homepage Journal
      Not to mention that not all root servers [wikipedia.org] are even in the US. According to that source:
      However, a number of root servers lie outside the United States:
      * i.root-servers.net is in Stockholm
      * k.root-servers.net is in Amsterdam and London
      * m.root-servers.net is in Tokyo

      Couple that with anycast [wikipedia.org] and other emerging redundancy methods and I'd say we have a pretty global effort to maintain DNS going on.
      Again, according to wikipedia.org:
      Use of anycast to implement DNS
      A number of the Internet root nameservers are implemented as large numbers of clusters of machines using anycast. The C, F, I, J and K servers exist in multiple locations on different continents, using anycast announcements to provide a decentralized service. As a result most of the physical, rather than nominal, root servers are now outside the United States. (emphasis mine)
    • by meringuoid (568297) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:21AM (#13730479)
      But if they want to force the issue, I'm thinking that we should "remind" our foreign allies that a country with our military might cannot and will not be forced.

      Oh dear me. What, if the EU decides to establish its own independent root servers, you're going to invade? Very funny.

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:47AM (#13729959) Journal

    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.

    Is that a fact? Right or wrong have you looked at our Government lately? Do you really think that international consensus will bother us in the least?

    I'm sure my friends in Europe will take exception to this line of reasoning but why shouldn't the US retain control over the root servers? We built the Internet in the first place. Do you really want to see it turned over to the UN?

    In the early days, an enlightened Department of Commerce (DoC) pushed and funded expansion of the internet.

    Not only did we invent and build it -- we paid for it. That doesn't entitle us to something? The British got to define the Prime Meridian based on their global empire. Subsequently this has defined GMT. Wouldn't it make more sense for GMT to be based on New York (the center of the World Financial System and headquarters of the United Nations)? Isn't that whole argument just as silly as insisting that DoC hand over the root servers? Where is the problem here that they want to fix?

    • by FinestLittleSpace (719663) * on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:54AM (#13730059)
      I don't agree. Control of the root servers effectively means that they could seriously damage a country's internet structure (and subsequently economy) IF they wanted to. It could effectively mean war by technological starvation. There SHOULD be a united body handling the internet. Full stop. Whether it's the UN or not is a null issue, the UN do a heck of a lot of good generally, so I have no problem with it.
    • Not only did we invent and build it -- we paid for it.

      "We" (Americans) didn't invent it. It was a much more impressive collaboration from people from many countries, not the least of whom is Tim Berners-Lee [wikipedia.org] [Wikipedia.org]. I'll agree that we funded it, and greatly helped it come to fruition but let's not make it look like "We" think it was the singular efforts of one country and one people that birthed the Internet as we now know it. To do so not only makes "Us" look quite egocentric. I don't believe

      • by ivan256 (17499) * on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:15AM (#13730379)
        Since you've been modded up, I'm surprised that nobody has bothered to explain to you yet that the web isn't the internet.
      • by jnaujok (804613) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @12:01PM (#13731041) Homepage Journal
        Excuse me, but the Internet (in the form of the ArpaNet and DarpaNet and finally the Internet) had been around for nearly twenty years before Tim Berners Lee did anything. He distributed his magic, shiny "web browser" across FTP and Gopher, two services that had fifteen years of use behind them before he came along. I was playing MUDs in 1985 across Telnet, long before Tim Berners Lee even got hired by CERN. At that time, the number of non-US nodes could have been measured in the dozens and they were almost all universities or research facilities. At the same time, companies in America were already fighting over IP addresses.

        Your comment, "how technically it is very difficult for one country to "control the internet."" You think that's hard, wait until you see a committee of twenty countries trying to do it.

        And I just can't wait until the UN/EU tries to impose a "Root Fee" to pay for managing it, that every man, woman, and child with an Internet conneection will have to pay. If you don't think the UN is thinking about this, then you don't understand the most fundamental rule of politics -- "It's all about the money."
    • by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:03AM (#13730209)
      Wouldn't it make more sense for GMT to be based on New York (the center of the World Financial System and headquarters of the United Nations)?

      No. Because then the date line (meridian opposite of the prime meridian) would pass through heavily inhabited zones (Asia) rather than through the Pacific, which would be kind of disruptive.

    • by squiggleslash (241428) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:08AM (#13730272) Homepage Journal
      You paid for the part of it that resides in the US. You didn't pay for the part of it outside of the US. And many, many, agencies, contributed to the technology used. The World Wide Web, for instance, was a European creation.

      Either way, this is irrelevent. The point is that, today, the Internet is a global network. It needs to be "governed" globally, not by one major player. I'm finding the nationalistic cries of outrage posted here difficult to stomach. Something tells me that if it were proposed that control of the World Wide Web be handed over to the EU, on the grounds it's a European invention, you'd be pretty pissed.

      • by jnaujok (804613) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:49AM (#13730877) Homepage Journal
        Tim Berners Lee (Who currently resides with his wife and child in Boston, MA) did develop the http protocol while working for CERN in 1989-1991. However, it's clearly a derivative of many other internet protocols. Hypertext markup is a subset of SGML. Thus, TBL's contribution was that he happened to work at a place with a whole lot of information, a lot of SGML data, and an Internet connection. He created a simple program that would let scientists communicate data in an easily readable form over the Internet.

        He never dreamed that the "Web" would become anything like it has become. The idea that he was standing over people's shoulders and forging the Web from red-hot steel with his bare hands is totally misleading. Yes, he put up the first web site (info.cern.ch) on August 6, 1991. Big deal. Who created the sockets library he was using? Who created the RFC system that let him publish his RFC? What country invented the programming language he wrote it in? Heck, what country built the machine he wrote it on? And what country produced the Apple HyperDeck that inspired him to use internal hyperlinks? When he wrote HTTP, there were new protocols hitting the Net almost every day. His just happened to be the one to catch on because it was mind-numbingly simple.

        If this is your "reasoning" that the EU should own the Internet, then I imagine that you'd want to enslave everyone in the World, after all Francis Crick was from England, and he discovered DNA. Let us all hail our new EU overlords.
      • by necrognome (236545) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @12:02PM (#13731052) Homepage
        I'm infuriated with this idiocy! Must everything be "governed"? The Internet is currently "governed" by a mixture of post-hippies, libertarians, and "cyberanarchists". This is to say that the Internet is not "governed" that much at all. This is what sticks in the craw of the world's more statist regimes: that the primary means of communication is not controlled, regulated, or taxed. The Internet is insufficiently "governed". I like it that way. :D
    • by JohanV (536228) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:33AM (#13730668) Homepage
      Not only did we invent
      Dear United States of America,

      We invented the type of government where the people are represented by representatives in a legislative body, separate from an executive branch, commonly known as the Republic. Your use of the aforementioned type of government infringes on our Intellectual Property rights. Please cease to use the aforementioned type of government within 30 days.

      Best regards,
      The Old World
      and build it -- we paid for it.
      The internet is, by definition, the sum of its constituing networks. The constituing networks are build and paid by their respective owners. Basic property rights. You don't own anything you can't show the receipt for.
      In the case of the domain name system, that is payed for by the owners of domain names. Year after year they pay for it through their registrars.
      That doesn't entitle us to something?
      Other then whining on /.? No.

      You want more examples? Graham Bell invented the phone. Does that mean the US has the final say in deciding whether Moldavia gets country prefix 0418 or 0418? No, that is decided by the ITU, which is a special organization of the UN. (Which are known to be anti-American communists, having done such terrible things as providing North America with the obscenely long country code "1" just to make it harder for the rest of the world to call the US.)
  • by Surt (22457) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:49AM (#13729984) Homepage Journal
    It's their obvious strategy. There is absolutely no reason they have to live with us controlling the internet. Just put their own root DNS servers in place, and legally mandate that all of their ISPs switch over. It's not rocket science, but it will fragment the internet a bit.
  • by Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:49AM (#13729988)
    We are not giving up control of Gopherspace!
  • by lawpoop (604919) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:50AM (#13730001) Homepage Journal
    Do we really need a government, or super-government in charge of this? Can't we have a decentralized network of root servers working together on this co-operatively? If one server or network became consistently unreliable, people would stop using it.
  • So... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by theGreater (596196) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:52AM (#13730025) Homepage
    ...basically it amounts to "EU and UN say 'Give us the root servers" and the US says "No, we invented and paid for them and we're keeping them." All this seems to boil down to the E(U)N having to establish their own set of roots, which is where we started from, is it not? Wouldn't it have been a lot easier to just set up an alternate root system without all the political grandstanding? Does anyone in the E(U)N honestly think the US was going to invest billions in something, only to invest billions more to hand it over because Tunisia thought they should?

    -theGreater.

    PS: Yes, I realize only the -summit- was in Tunisia; I needed a smaller country to make my point.
    • by delcielo (217760) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:23AM (#13730504) Journal
      Our (U.S.) government has become less predictable and some would argue less stable. We've been giving anybody who looks our direction the finger on nearly every issue we can. And we've been doing odd things at home, also. From the WMD/Iraq thing to erosion of Civil Liberties, to the ultra-right neo-conservatism to the President suggesting that he needs the power to use the military for law enforcement if he deems it necessary. It's no wonder that the other nations of the world are a little skittish about the U.S. controlling something so vital to their national interests.

      It's really not that hard to imagine, for instance, that our government might force the root name servers to stop handing out answers for the .ir domain as a type of sanction against Iran. I use Iran as an example because they are currently one of our hot buttons. But who might we be angry at next? China, France? How about Brazil? One of our religious leaders has called for the assassination of that nation's elected President.

      That all probably seems like hyperbole. It does to me, too. But if you're the leader of a foreign country, it would seem a lot less so. And if you're responsible for your nation's economy and the internet plays a significant role in that, I'd say you've got a responsibility to mitigate such risks. While I think the root DNS is safe with us, it doesn't surprise or anger me that the rest of the world doesn't agree. If anything, it surprises me that it hasn't happened sooner.
  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:52AM (#13730033) Journal
    But with the internet now essential to countries' basic infrastructure - Brazil relies on it for 90% of its tax collection - the question of who has control has become critical.


    Which is, of course, exactly why the US wants to maintain control of it.
  • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:53AM (#13730039) Homepage Journal
    Remember Barbar the Elephant? That's what the EU running the Internet looks like.
  • by jeffs72 (711141) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:53AM (#13730040) Journal
    I don't mind an international body doing this, but I really mind the UN doing it. Couldn't we found an international geek body to do this instead? Like IEEE or ICANN or CERT or something?
  • Hilarious! (Score:5, Funny)

    by antonymous (828776) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:53AM (#13730042)
    Anytime your story ends with:

    The internet will never be the same again.

    You've already lost the battle against melodrama.
  • by pieterh (196118) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:53AM (#13730051) Homepage
    We are presumably discussing the Internet as an international network, and here the answer is obviously, "no-one can own this", because ownership will mean subversion of the Internet for political goals and thus its destruction.

    But if we mean the millions of small and large (e.g. China) internets, each of these can and probably should be owned.

    The problem of root DNS servers appears to be an artificial one, relatively easily solved if there was the political will to relinquish control and allow the free creation of arbitrary top level names. There are parallels where control has successfully been relinquished and the results are a nice mix of anarchy and order, suiting everyone. Newsnet is a good example.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:54AM (#13730054) Homepage
    I think it would be very interesting to see a divided internet. Once in a while things need to shaken up in order for progress to be made. IPV6 is too long in coming and ultimately since it's easier not to change, things are at most moving very slowly. But really, "the internet" is a global entity with global interest and should be managed globally. And if it takes segmentation prior to reunification, then so be it -- I'm ready to wait out the storm... but then again, such a separation will harm the US far less than any other part of the world. It would be REALLY interesting, though, to see what happens to the SPAM industry if such segmentation were to happen.

  • by hkmwbz (531650) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:00AM (#13730161) Journal
    The UN is an international organization, and although I am not opposed to the idea of a forum where all countries can gather to discuss important matters, I am worried about the UN gaining too much power.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but won't dictatorships that terrorize their people have the same ability to vote in important matters as democratic countries? Hasn't there been a history of less than decent governments being represented in, say the Security Council? I mean, what is China doing there?

    Regarding the Internet, I'm leaning towards saying "if it ain't broken, don't fix it". It's working OK the way it does today (although Verisign needs to get the boot). I also want to make sure that China and other such governments have no say over my Internet connection.

    And the EU sure seems to be taking the hardball approach to this! I can't even see how they can possible force the control away from the US. They will be making complete fools of themselves if they end up splitting the Internet. Unlikely, but I'm sure they are willing to do so just to prove that the EU has the balls to stand up to the US...

    • by 0xABADC0DA (867955) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:37AM (#13730710)
      So what if "bad" countries can vote? It's like democracies that still allow the neighborhood bully to vote, or the spouse abuser. Or even the people who want the government to endorse Mormonism as the national religion (cf Orin Hatch). They still get to vote, but why should they? Because that's the whole freakin point of voting in the first place, that everybody gets one vote regardless of whether you agree with them ideologically or not, or whether you like them, or whether they have the most money or power.
  • Devils Advocate (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jupiter909 (786596) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:04AM (#13730220)
    I posted these same words last week and I'll post them again.

    I am anti-US on many things, but let back them by saying this.

    The USA created the Internet as we know it today, it is their creation, from their tax payers money. As much as I dislike many things that the USA is doing and has done in the past. I'm going to have to say that I'm behind them on keeping control of what is theirs, which happens to be the foundation of the Internet as we know it.

    Just due to the fact that it is now a globally used system that effects everyone in the modern world does not give any body/group the right to demand rights of control over that system. Just as new protocols are created over time and are layered ontop of the old to keep the system running regardless of 'obsolete' hardware/software that might be in some remote corner of the web, so to should the U.N create a system that runs along side the current one if it so desperatly wants control. That is the most logical solution to the problem at hand. Countries and corporations can create 'internal' networks that overide the current systems of the Internet.

    The fact that the developing world does not see that as the most logical first step attempt at a solution at hand is evidence that they are not ready to have control over a system such as complex as the Internet.

    I whole heartly back the US on their choice to not hand it over.
  • No one will notice (Score:5, Informative)

    by GlobalEcho (26240) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:10AM (#13730303)
    So some places outside the US, as is their right, are going to set up their own root servers. This kind of thing has been done many times before. [wikipedia.org] Those other alt-roots have never been very heavily subscribed. Naturally that reference level could change, if other countries mandate that their ISPs use the new alt-roots.

    But you know what? To the extent that the data coming out of the latest alt-roots conflict with the ICANN, they will be generally perceived as broken, particularly but not exclusively from the point of view of users in the US. For example, domain names will fail to resolve, or will resolve to the "wrong" place. If the new alt-roots do much of anything differently, users will start pointing their DNS clients at nameservers that resolve up to the ICANN. So for example if China sets up something that won't resolve (say) freechina.net, the individual users will soon learn to point their DNS clients at US nameservers.

    The only way I can see these new alt-roots being heavily subscribed is if they make sure they agree with the ICANN everywhere ICANN has a route to a name, and if their use is legally mandated so that ISPs are forced to go through the hassle of changing. If they do that, the only value that they could possibly add would be of including extra domains that resolve for the alt-roots, and that ICANN does not yet have. Is there really a lot of demand for such a thing? I'm not sure.
  • by reaper (10065) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:11AM (#13730309) Homepage Journal
    The Internet is an agreement between interested parties using a common protocol... nothing more, and nothing less. If the EU wants to force the issue, it's fine. Let them renegotiate the agreement. See how far they get. If they force the issue, and begin to change how DNS works, or how IP addresses are assigned, then they have broken the agreement, and have effectively made a different Internet. A different agreement that will get cut off from the regular Internet so as not to interfere. A different Internet without anything on it that people want.

    But hey, it'll be fun to watch....

  • by malkavian (9512) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:24AM (#13730520) Homepage
    So, this story has only been posted a short while, and already the posts saying "We'll do what we damn well please. We're untouchable. We can do without you all. We'll just pull the plug on things. We invented it. We paid for it." are running rife.
    All modded up as insightful and informative.

    Well.. That's the reason the UN really wants things to be run by an international board, not a US controlled one. The net, as the article states, is now vital to many countries.
    Which means the rest of the world would also like to have it's fair share of the say, without having to listen to the US, which has recently showed it's absolute contempt for international view (and in the posts here, is showing it all over again).
    The aim, from my interpretation of the article, is that an international body, that fills the shoes that ICANN now fills will be formed as a technical arena to ensure that the needs of the world are fulfilled.
    The rest of the world is perfectly able to build it's own root servers, although this will then lead to the US being cut off if it refuses to use the new ones, and fragmentation of the whole will occur.
    This is what the ongoing argument is about.
    Not 'Give us the root servers. All of them. Give us what you paid for.'.
    The infrastructure outside the US was paid for outside the US, by the companies that operate outside the US.
    Without that foreign buy in to a Standard, there would be no worldwide internet. It would be the US military net it started off as, or perhaps their academic net, like UK had JANET, and Europe's other competing national networks.
    What is being requested is that the ownership becomes joint. No one country can pull the plug and get overall control to suddenly yank a whole area out of the system at will.

    The amount of inventions used in the US created outside of it (or before it existed) are many and multifarious.
    Without those, it's entirely probably that the ideas that lead to the creation of the Internet would have not formed for a goodly long time.
    But, the ideas did come around in the US, and honestly, all credit to the guys that did come up with it. And for the forsight to put it into the academic arena, which led to it's increase in scope worldwide (I still remember the net from it's almost entirely academic days).

    Now the choice comes to either make it a truly worldwide and international entity and show real enlightenment, or to hoard it, use it as a lever to gain other concessions, or a stick to beat people with if needed.
    This whole issue is a lot more complex than most here give it credit for.
    Personally, I'm interested in seeing how it evolves.
    I think a lot of the character of both the UN and the US will come out here, and I very much doubt that either one will end up smelling of roses.
  • by theycallmeB (606963) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:38AM (#13730729)
    I posted a comment or two the last time this came up, but now I will take a different tack: it is understandable that they want some way to maintain access to their country level domains even if the US goes utterly nuts. I suggested that is just what they should do.

    Now they want to force the issue, I think we should help them along. Tell the EU and the UN to pick a date on which the US root zone file will no longer be responsible for containing the look-up information for non US country domains such as .br and .tv. Starting this day the US root zone file would point to the UN zone file for look-ups for the domains. The UN file would of course point to the US file for the .us domains and for the existing international TLDs such as .com and .org. The UN could also create their own new TLDs, maybe .comnet or something, but the old ones stay with the US.

    Now if they actually did this, the US part of the internet would not be order the control of an organization that is not beholden in the slightest way to the American people, while the rest of the world gets to deal with something administered by the UN or the EU. Really, what is so hard about this?

    Oh, as for the internet being essential to the infrastructure of some countries, might it be said that the internet pretty much IS the infrastructure of the US economy, government and whotnot? Turn off the internet everywhere, and the transistion in the US would be substantially more severe than the transistion in Brazil (I am sure they would still get their taxes somehow).
  • by Trespass (225077) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:48AM (#13730871) Homepage
    They've made their decision, now let's see them enforce it.
  • by RoffleTheWaffle (916980) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @04:20PM (#13733726) Journal

    In A.D. 2005, war was beginning.

    BUSH : What happen ?

    ICANN : Somebody set up us the root

    AMBASSADOR : We get signal

    BUSH : What !!

    BUSH : Main screen turn on

    BUSH : Its you !!

    E.U. : How are you gentlemen !!

    E.U. : All your domain are belong to us

    E.U. : You are on the way to destruction

    BUSH : What you say !!

    E.U. : You have no chance to survive make your time

    E.U. : Ha ha ha ha ....

    AMBASSADOR : President !!

    BUSH : Take off every 'Zig'

    BUSH : You know what you doing

    BUSH : Move 'Zig'

    BUSH : For great justice

    RUMSFELD : THEY'RE CALLED F-16'S, DUMBASS

"A mind is a terrible thing to have leaking out your ears." -- The League of Sadistic Telepaths

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