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The Internet Government Politics

Internet Power Struggle Reaching Climax 791

Posted by Zonk
from the who-needs-international-consent dept.
Fredden wrote to mention a BBC piece discussing the U.S.'s poor image when it comes to Internet management. From the article: "It has even lost the support of the European Union. It stands alone as the divisive battle over who runs the internet heads for a showdown at a key UN summit in Tunisia next month. The stakes are high, with the European Commissioner responsible for the net, Viviane Reding, warning of a potential web meltdown. " We've previously covered this story.
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Internet Power Struggle Reaching Climax

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  • by Agelmar (205181) * on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @03:53PM (#13767607)
    This story has been covered on /. at least three times, as noted in the post itself. There are really no new solutions offered here. Comments in the previous post have revolved around setting up alternate root notes for each country which may result in conflicts or fracturing, setting the root nodes to point to some authoritative German node for .de, Japanese node for .jp etc, but this still allows the controller of the root to start 'war'... where are the solutions? I don't see any coming down the pipe - this seems to be the political equivalent of an 'NP-hard' problem, and until someone proves otherwise with a feasible solution, can't we stop re-hashing old news? (Granted, there were a few more ideas offered in the comments to previous posts, but none of them really seem to solve the fundamental issue of decentralized control while maintaining a single Internet that uses DNS.)
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @04:21PM (#13767914)
      Things stay as they are. There is no legal authority outside of the US to compel ICANN to give up their position, and the US has said they won't. The UN can't pass a resolution to force it, the US will veto it. Basically people can choose to use the DNS system as it is, or they can go make their own.

      Unless someone can find a good reason to give the US to make ICANN turn things over, there's not anything that can be done.
      • Unless someone can find a good reason to give the US to make ICANN turn things over, there's not anything that can be done.

        Yes, and that good reason could be: "We are taking control of all DNS (no need to actually design something else) outside the US. Feel free to join us". I don't see that happening in the short term, but I wouldn't be surprised if it came to that eventually (or the US backing down under the threat of this happening).
        • It has sort of happened. Go to ORSN, www.orsn.net
          Set their nameserver in you resolv.conf or your DHCP-server: http://european.nl.orsn.net/tech-switch-linux.php [orsn.net]

          It takes less than one minute and now you are ICANN-free. The internet still works, I can still post to /. so all is good.

          Just shows that this is much ado about nothing. There is no big threat and no taking control of DNS.
        • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @01:02AM (#13771211)
          The only thing the EU could take control of DNS wise is K. It's run by RIPE. M is run by WIDE which means getting Japan to go along. The rest? Run by American companies, universities or branches of the government. So then what? Pass a law declaring that private citizens and ISPs must change their DNS servers to use only K as a root? I don't see how they could possibly pull that one off, never mind the enforcement if they did.

          DNS is all just a set of conventions and trusts remember. The roots trust ICANN. Nobody makes them, any root could go and trust any other authoriy, or become their own. DNS servers trust the roots. They can trust one or all of them, or none. You can set your DNS server to be it's own root and not listen to ICANN, or listen to an alternate root like OpenNIC.

          So sure, maybe the EU has or can get the legal authority to force K to stop listening to ICANN, but they can't force any of the rest of them. So unless they decide to go all George Orwell and force private citizens and companies to stop listening to the roots, they are sunk. The only alternative, is to create their own roots and try and convince people, including Americans, it's in their best intrest to use those as well as or instead of the ICANN roots.

          That's the real problem here is the Internet is by and large the US's toy. When everyone else came along to play, they could have setup their own thing. They could have decided to reuse the entire IP space internally. Then, we would have had to develop a way for those spaces to communicate, and a way would have been developed. Or, even had they gone along with that, it would have been very easy for each country to setup their own root as they went along. Then all the roots could run their own zone and copy each other's zone, and they could all vote about adding new domains and who would administer those.

          But nobody did.

          People would just in and just use what the US had provided. The countries setup nothing, and individual orginizations would just setup DNS using UC Berkely's (now ISC, also US based) BIND which used the US roots. As need for DNS grew the US kept adding more roots, and nobody else bothered. Finally with the 11th root one was created outside the US, but even that chose to just join on the US system.

          Well guess what? All this has lead to de facto US control. Everyone chose to join their network and play by their rules, it means they have a degree of control. Now since it's all just due to conventions, it can be changed by people deciding to use a new convention, but it can't be forced. The EU can't force the US to give up control of the US roots or ICANN.
    • by ErikTheRed (162431) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @04:27PM (#13767979) Homepage
      I've seen the problem described as "Teh US h4xx0r administration can cut off a country from the rest of the Internet". Pray tell, how? Block a range of IPs from making DNS requests? All it takes is one server in a neutral country to forward / cache those requests. If this did happen, you'd likely have about a million sysadmins jump to the task.

      Like many political problems, the description is a lie. These countries want to be able to control the Internet (at least within their borders) themselves. They want to engage in suppression of free speech, and create impediments to global commerce. You can love or hate the US and the current administration, but over the last two-plus centuries, pray tell what other major country has done more to promote free speech? If you had to trust one other country or organization in this matter, which one would it be? The UN, where every crackpot dictator and totalitarian asshole is given a voice alongside the democratically elected crackpots and assholes? The EU, which doesn't even have a constitution yet? Russia? China? Iran? Yeah, right!

      Yes, in theory, no one organization should control DNS and we should all join hands around the campfire and sing 'Kumbaya', but the real world is a rather fucked up place, and the US is probably the least of all evils in this case.
      • When the hell did John Bolton start posting on Slashdot?
      • hese countries want to be able to control the Internet (at least within their borders) themselves.

        I think they really want to be able to levy taxes. To quote the mayor from deadwood, "Taking peoples money is what makes an organization real, be it temporary, ad hoc, or otherwise."

        This is a revenue grab pure and simple. Be prepared for domain taxes, ip taxes, email taxes, etc. They will take the money and claim its to help people in developing countries ... however, like the story we've all heard befor

        • The UN is, at its heart, only a forum. Like in every forum, including online ones, you've got posturing and trolling going on.

          You can't expect a forum to have any credibility, however its members put together might.

          To get anything done in the UN you need to have the approval of all the moderators, i.e. each and everyone of the members of the security council. Since the US is one of them, if the US don't approve, any amount of screaming bloody murder at the UN will achieve precisely nothing.

          It's not that the
      • As much as it sounds a sacrilege to you, many very old, civilized and respectful countries imposed limits to free speech - it does not make these countries less democratic than yours, just different. As for global unregulated commerce, it remains yet to be seem if it is good for developing and under-developed nations or just another tool to transfer resources from the poor countries to the rich.

        Your description of the UN as [a place] where every crackpot dictator and totalitarian asshole is given a voice al
      • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @05:37PM (#13768732)

        Well, since this whole thread is going to be a trollfest from start to finish, we might as well get this one in early:

        ...the real world is a rather fucked up place, and the US is probably the least of all evils in this case.

        The problem with the above is that the rest of the world doesn't believe that any more. The current US administration has quite possibly done more to damage international relations for the US than any other in modern history, and this is probably among the first of many ways it's going to come back to bite them and the citizens they represent.

        It's not the only one: I watched with great sadness as people whom I know to have given very generously to things like the tsunami appeal openly refused to donate anything in the aftermath of Katrina, such was their loathing for the current state of affairs across the pond. Outside the US, the tragedy that hundreds of people died and countless thousands were displaced isn't what registers with a lot of people any more; they just see the mighty US get what they thought it had coming.

        I honestly don't think a lot of US citizens realise just how negative their nation's world image is right now. People outside hear claims about protecting human rights, and the first thing they think of is the images from Gitmo. Every time this thread comes up, half a million zealots start claiming the US created the Internet, and the rest of us don't know whether to laugh or cry at the ignorance and naivety. War for oil, the environment, refusing to submit political and military leaders for internationally-recognised war trials while prosecuting leaders of other nations claiming that same authority, using trade power as a way to force other countries to change their legal systems to benefit US corporations at the expense of their own population, supporting dubious regimes in other nations... the list goes on, and none of it's pretty. You have to wonder how any remotely smart US citizen thought their administration could do this and never face any consequences.

        • I often disagree with many of your posts, but on this occasion you are right on the mark.

          I suspect many Americans are unaware of quite how much damage the current US administration has done to the reputation of their country.

          For a long time, there's been a bit of a debate about whether the USA should be the "world's policeman", sorting out major world conflicts, because they're the only ones both strong enough and (to Europe's shame) willing enough to do so.

          Were some countries unhappy about the USA's power
          • A lot of the concern about the current US administrations stems from how poorly they seem to treat their own citizens. There really does seem to a complete lack of concern in the current administration about the current and future well being of their own countrymen, with their focus locked on bamboozling the christian right and personal profit. Upon that basis the outside world view is they treat their own so badly what would they do to us and the unwillingness to trust the current administration is based u
        • by adrianmonk (890071) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @08:46PM (#13770187)
          War for oil

          Anti-American people are going to probably dismiss me as a dumb American for saying this, but I really do NOT get why people think that the war in Iraq is war for oil.

          Let me explain. Many years ago, Bush was in the oil business. He then became Governor of Texas, and then President of the United States. After that, there was there were the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, and then we went to war in Iraq.

          Since we went to war in Iraq, retail gas prices in the United States have gone through the roof. The prices were affected by Hurricane Katrina and also by Hurricane Rita, yes, but even before those things happened, the prices had virtually doubled in just a few years. Prices hit $2.00/gallon over a year ago, which is quite high considering that prices were under $1.00/gallon 6 or 7 years ago. And the majority of the increase has been since the war in Iraq started.

          So, let's analyze this in terms of supply and demand. If we went to war for oil, wouldn't you expect that this would have improved gas prices? In fact, it has had the exact opposite effect. Analysts have said that the reason for high gas prices is the uncertainty that war creates in the market. And high gas prices have been hurting the US economy as well. For a long time, we were starting to have an economic recovery (after the dot-bomb crash), but worries over the price of fuel kept killing the momentum of the recovery.

          Now combine this with the fact that we were already getting oil out of Iraq through the UN oil-for-food program. Then the war itself disrupted oil production, and it has been been disrupted after "major hostilities" were over, because there has been sabotage.

          Basically, my question is this: if this is "war for oil", then why does everything seem to indicate that we have less oil now than we did before the war started, and why does it seem we are having more trouble getting the oil we do get? Bush is not the brightest guy ever, but I don't see how it's plausible that even he is dumb enough to go to war over oil and end up making things worse than they'd be if he did nothing.

          Instead, I'd like to offer a different explanation for the war in Iraq. You may think the US's actions in going to war are extralegal, and you may be right (depending on how you view the role of the UN), but in my opinion, the US went to war in Iraq for a simple reason: it wants to protect its interests. Bush is a Texan, and I'm a Texan too, so let me tell you, although I don't agree with it, I know the attitude that many people around here take towards foreign policy. The idea is that the US needs to get out there and do whatever is in our own best interest, period. Yes, we should cooperate with others, but that's not the main focus. It seems pretty clear to me that this war has a very simple purpose.

          And what is that purpose? It's not oil. It's not even fighting terrorists, directly. It's something very simple. It's a way of sending a message. The message is really simple: "You fuck with us, we'll find a way to fuck you over 10 times as bad." That is the real reason the US is in Iraq. It is there to make an example of someone, so that terrorists will not think we'll sit around and take terrorist attacks without responding.

          Of course, that doesn't jibe with the official line either. The official line is that we're there to liberate people from an oppressive ruler. That's not entirely false. We do hope to accomplish that, and we have mostly done so. But the administration tries to give the impression that it's our primary motivation, and that's a lie.

          Now, I don't mind if you disagree with the US going in against UN wishes to invade a country as a show of force. I don't entirely agree with it either, and experience has shown it was probably a bad idea. But if you are going to criticize the US for invading Iraq, please try to be accurate about why the US has done it. It's not that different from France's nuclear tests in 1995 and 1996 that the world opposed, or the more recent nuclear tests in Pakistan and India. Those were also shows of force.

          • Here's a good link for you in the future when you're replying to the "war for oil" conspiracy nuts: Why we went to war. [weeklystandard.com]

            Remember, the fact that we found no weapons does not mean that the weapons weren't the reason. Unless you want to call President Clinton a Texas oil barron, saying the Iraq war was for oil makes you a conspiracy nut who is to lazy or too blind to see the facts.
            • by joss (1346) on Wednesday October 12, 2005 @04:01AM (#13771689) Homepage
              Your link contains a pack of lies. First one that comes up is "When asked to produce credible evidence of the destruction--the location of destruction sites, fragments of destroyed weapons, some documentation of the destruction, anything at all--the Iraqis refused."

              No, they provided the information, it just wasn't believed. They didnt have extensive documentation on this, after all they were destroying weapons they weren't supposed to have.

              The whole article contains a mixture of misinterpretation mixed with outright lies. Before the war one could read what Scott Ritter or Joseph Wilson was saying and it turned out they were entirely correct. You can and will believe what you like, but as far as the rest of the world is concerned the evidence is conclusive. As for why oil prices going up proving it wasnt for oil, are you being deliberately stupid or what ? Nobody in their right mind claimed the point of the war was to provide American proles with cheap oil, the point was to provide American corporations with the control of vast oil reserves.
      • Get you own (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ImaLamer (260199) <john@lamar.gmail@com> on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @05:53PM (#13768908) Homepage Journal
        These countries want to be able to control the Internet (at least within their borders) themselves. They want to engage in suppression of free speech, and create impediments to global commerce.

        Well, then let them build their own network! No, being serious here - there is a way to solve all of this. Someone needs to develop their own DNS-like system and while they are at it develop a alternative to HTTP (because this is what we are really talking about here isn't it folks, "teh web"). When they get this new system up and running they can just go ahead and run it on our TCP/IP networks if they'd like (for a fee). By no means however is this going to take DNS control from us here in the states, ours would just exist along side "theirs".

        It's possible, so these people should stop bitching.

        Then again you would need to get American software companies like Microsoft to ship modified software to you specially because everything in it relies on DNS today (Active Directory can't work without it) and you would need to change a lot of other things, but it's possible.

        You can love or hate the US and the current administration, but over the last two-plus centuries, pray tell what other major country has done more to promote free speech?

        Well, I don't know about this part of the post. I hate the administration and I don't think they are doing a damn thing for free speech (remember the loyalty oath to see a Bush speech and USAPATRIOT) but I love America and what it stands for and I think only we should be in control for the reason you stated above - some regimes want to censor the Internet.

        What scares me is that giving the UN control of the DNS servers will allow people from outside of America control an American's inherent right to free speech. If I put up a site that dishes on the Queen of England then she can petition the UN to revoke my domain name. If I wanted to put a site up called BRANDNAME-SUCKS.COM WIPO might close me down.

        It isn't that I don't trust the UN - I just don't trust anyone I can't "see" in an American court.
        • Re:Get you own (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bentcd (690786)
          Well, then let them build their own network! No, being serious here - there is a way to solve all of this. Someone needs to develop their own DNS-like system and while they are at it develop a alternative to HTTP (because this is what we are really talking about here isn't it folks, "teh web"). When they get this new system up and running they can just go ahead and run it on our TCP/IP networks if they'd like (for a fee). By no means however is this going to take DNS control from us here in the states, ours
        • Re:Get you own (Score:3, Insightful)

          Well, then let them build their own network!

          The thing is, other countries *have* built their own networks. Or did you think the US was running around the world installing fiber and cable for everyone??

  • What meltdown? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ploafmaster general (920649) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @03:54PM (#13767615) Homepage
    The sheer pomposity that these people have, believing this struggle over a collection of DNS servers is going to cause an internet meltdown, boggles my mind. Stupid politics.
  • by xiphoris (839465) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @03:54PM (#13767622) Homepage
    That no single organization runs it? That destroying pieces of it will not disrupt the rest?

    The success of the Internet is that its peer-peer nature has allowed it to evolve and struggle past any sort of obstacles, most of them having been technical. Now we have a political obstacle. Why is it necessary that any one organization "control the Internet"? Isn't that exactly not the point of its design?
    • by Wesley Felter (138342) <wesley@felter.org> on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @04:00PM (#13767684) Homepage
      That no single organization runs it? That destroying pieces of it will not disrupt the rest?

      Yes, and then DNS was invented.
    • by panurge (573432) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @04:06PM (#13767751)
      Look for power coalescing around a resource, then acquire the resource and control access to it so they get the power. Which, come to think of it, is just what most of the human race does, given the opportunity. Including the recording industry, Rupert Murdoch, and your friendly neighborhood crack dealer.

      Unfortunately, the function of scientists and engineers is to have good ideas, make them work, and then watch the wealth obsessed and power mad take them over. It's a pity really. If we had the ability to organise, we could collectively hold the politicians to ransom - but it's not in our nature to do it, while it is in their nature to exploit.

    • by pavon (30274) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @05:32PM (#13768693)
      Man I wish I didn't use up all my mod point this morning - this story (like the last one posted) could really use them.

      This is about ICANN - the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. It is in charge of the dissemination of domain names and IP addresses. Things have to have identifiers - you can't get information from another computer, unless you have some way of finding that computer and initiating communication. That is why every computer on the internet must have an address, and they must be unique (even NAT'd computers: IP + Port gives a unique address of how to reach the computer you want). To insure this uniqueness the process of assigning and publishing these addresses is centralized. People have suggested ways to change this but all the suggestions suck. So no, the internet is not this amorphous decentralized thing that people make it out to be. In fact most things about it are more hierarchical than web-like in distribution, but there is just enough redundancy that it is fairly fault proof.

      On the the real issue. For years, this job has been done by the ICANN, which is an international private non-profit corporation, and save for a few annoyances, it has worked out fine and well. However, ICANN is operating under contract from the US government (I forget the exact department) with the knowledge that if ICANN misbehaves the government will slap them back into line. Thus far, the government has not had to do this, and has wisely been almost entirely hands off. Even when ICANN refused to give the IQ domain name to the provisional government in Iraq, the government did not use it's position over ICANN put any particular pressure on them.

      The looming question though is what the US government considers misbehaving. This isn't spelled out anywhere for the most part. So far the government has played nice - but who's to say what they will do in the future. Many people therefore want a more international body to be the final say over ICANN (or its equivalent), but their proposals are all as equally vague as the US's policy.

      So the world politicians are untrusting of the US, for fear that they may change their hands-off policy, especially with our increasingly unilateral behavior. Therefore, they want ultimate say over the internet, whatever that means. Likewise the US and a large portion of the technical community are untrusting of the UN, because some of them see the UN as incompentant or corrupt, and because European technical regulators are far more politicized on heavy-handed than their US counterparts, and also because more totalitarian governments are on the front line of the push. So we don't want to hand over control to a new party, when the current arrangement is working just fine.

      In short, since neither side has managed to spell out what it actually wants, it has just turned into a big ideological mess. What they need to do is table the discussion on who will run the internet and start talking about how the internet should be run. Each side should think of all the things that they are worried about if the other has control, and then sit down and write policy that alleviates these concerns. But until it is determined what power the "Head of the Internet" has, and more importantly what powers it does not have, then nothing productive can happen. It will continue to generate a bunch of "we created it - we run it" and "you guys think you rule the world but you don't" gargbage - just like on slashdot.
      • by sane? (179855) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @06:03PM (#13769015)
        A good, reasoned, and informed comment - in marked contrast to most of pointless diatribes here. A few points though, following on from my comment to the last dupe posted.

        ICANN isn't viewed particularly fondly by those outside the US, most because it takes almost no notice of the view of the various gTLDs; and because it looks like it wants to tax those gTLD to pay for its existance. You won't have heard this in the US media of course, but are you surprised? You may have heard of the phrase "no taxation without representation" before?

        The US had agreed to get the US governments hands off the decision making process, then back tracked and said that no, on balance they would like to go back on that and ignore agreements, keeping the 'authorisation' role. This pissed off lots of people who were waiting for Sept 2006 with gritted teeth. The US misjudged their position.

        The US government, and its religious nuts, have already interfered (with .XXX). Most consider this a taste of what it might do in future (eg axis of evil = delete the gTLD from the root so they 'disappear'). In short, nobody trusts them.

        A proportion of the root servers are already outside the geographic US. Its not difficult to setup a forum to discuss policy, give an automated mechanism to allow gTLD and other non-gTLD controllers the ability to update the root servers, and cut the US gov out of the process.

        The root DNS maybe at the root of everything, but a change of who says what is served and how is not going to bring the walls crumbling down. Nobody is likely to say that .COM DNS is now provided by someone else; unless someone does something stupid. However the ability to opt out of that stupidity is what is being taken and there isn't really much that the US can do to stop it, short of threatening force.

        Oh yes, and the reporting on this is really, really bad.

  • So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RWerp (798951) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @03:56PM (#13767636)
    This is making a fuss about nothing. All these years, the USA have never -- never -- abused its position of the Internet governor. There was no corruption scandal concerning the DNS root servers, which cannot be said about many "international" organisations (which are simple ruled not by a single country, but by an oligarchy of the USA, the EU and several other nations). So why change it?
    • Re:So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hunterx11 (778171) <<hunterx11> <at> <gmail.com>> on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @04:03PM (#13767728) Homepage Journal
      I think ICANN has done wonderfully on keeping out politics, as it should, with one exception: revoking domain names. But this is actually an argument against UN control, as ICANN has only started doing this at the behest of WIPO.
    • Re:So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by crotherm (160925)

      From TFA...

      In the face of opposition from countries such as China, Iran and Brazil, and several African nations, the US is now isolated ahead of November's UN summit.

      The only reason I can see is that since Bush and Co. badly screwed up the reputaion of USA, many of our biggest detractors want to put our feet to the fire. They think our global dominance is in jepordy and they want to hasten our decline by any means necessary. I can see where the countries listed might want things changed, but as bad as USA
      • Re:So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RWerp (798951)
        Don't worry. "The USA is isolated" only in some journalist's minds. The only real player against the USA is the EU. Without the EU (and I can't comprehend why Barroso is playing this game, I think he wants to please some European America-haters to keep them from doing more damage), such countries as Brasil, Iran or even China mean NOTHING in the UN. China can obly block something in the Security Council, but not push anything through.
    • Re:So what? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hackstraw (262471) *
      This is making a fuss about nothing. All these years, the USA have never -- never -- abused its position of the Internet governor. There was no corruption scandal concerning the DNS root servers, which cannot be said about many "international" organisations (which are simple ruled not by a single country, but by an oligarchy of the USA, the EU and several other nations). So why change it?

      Agreed. I have many, many more spam and firewall rules specifically against other countries. About 50% of my spam gets
    • Re:So what? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mcc (14761)
      The entire idea is that the U.S. going back on its years-old promise to turn DNS over to ICANN is being seen, by itself, as abusing its position as internet governor.
  • Y'know, other than US control, I don't see any real legitimate beef that the EU/UN could have. As far as I know, (which isn't much, as a casual internet user) the internet has been run fine under US control.

    What is their real complaint?! Please enlighten me!

    • Disclaimer: I am not American...

      Perhaps their complaint is that no single country should be in sole charge of a major part of the Internet infrastructure? Seems like a reasonable complaint to me, regardless of how benevolent the rule of that one nation may be at this time. What if, say, the next US administration decided to completely censor all anti-American anti-Christian content passing through equipment within its borders? I know this is likely unconstitutional, and would probably never actually happen
    • by drmerope (771119) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @04:19PM (#13767900)
      It's all about taxes. They want to levy taxes on domain registrations to pay for laying fiber in Africa.

      Its all about money, money, money; also about sex because the clamoring for this really only got loud after ICANN approved the .sex domain.

      And its being cloaked in stories about the evil dictatorial "government control" that now exists. There is no government control of Internet. The US government certainly does not control the DNS system--perhaps it does nominally, but right now the entire system is based on voluntary consent. People around the world are voluntarily deciding to use the ICANN monitored servers as the root.

      What is so disgusting here is that these governments (including the EU) are attempting to abolish a voluntary system to institute something based on involuntary compulsion so that they can collect rent payments.

      They are trying to claim they are just transfering a "power" that already exists but that's simply untrue.

      Further, their desire to depose the IETF and give the ITU control over internet standards is also suspicious. First we might ask why? Then we might notice that China chairs the ITU. Then we might notice that the ITU has stated they want to introduce stronger point-of-origin guarantees to make it easier to track down individuals. Its obvious why they want this: you just need to watch the Chinese efforts to crack-down on dissent via the Internet.
      • Mod up..

        It is about taxes and money. ICANN is largely independent anyway and most root DNS servers are operated at universities and research centers. Its not like its run from the pentagon.

        Personally I do not see why its a big deal but I am an American so I view it differently. The internet as it is right now is a wild place and libertarian. Things just happen. The internet should be run by a non profit charter or organization and governments should not run it. Perhaps they could work on the physical infust
      • by rawyin (870144) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @04:51PM (#13768235)

        Exactly right, in that it's all about money and power [mangeek.com]. Other concerns include foreign governments being able to control facets of the Internet where the US would otherwise say no.

        Taxes, Internet Surveillence, and even the ability to require payments to reserve names in each country. Suddenly foreign governments can do all sorts of things to each other by stretching their Internet-puppet-strings. They could even hold portions of the Internet hostage or resell domains in their own country if they would profit more from their local commercial interest. "Hmm, I can claim $150,000 from this local manufacturer to give them volvo.com so I think I'll go ahead and do that."

        So far:

        • They have provided no reasons for why it has to change
        • They have given no rational suggestions for how they would improve it
        • They have sounded more like spoiled children who can't get their way and are going to throw a hissy-fit has a result.

        The US has been fairly honest and without a great deal of corruption in this business. I would not expect that from Brazil, China or many member countries of the EU.

    • I think that China, Brazil, Iran, etc. are worried about the potential for what they see as "abuse of power" in their eyes. They don't want the U. S. to be able to dictate to them about their use of the internet in any way, shape, or form.

      From what I can see though, according to TFA, the UN doesn't want to take over or strip away Icann's role as a regulator of web traffic. Rather, they wish for Icann to become independent as it was supposed to in September of 2006. When the U. S. said no, it wasn't gonna
  • suggestion! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Deanalator (806515) <pierce403@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @03:57PM (#13767645) Homepage
    why not make a nice clean ipv6 network, and then we in the US can join them once we realize how much better it is?
  • Yippi! (Score:5, Funny)

    by bomek (63323) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @03:59PM (#13767655) Homepage
    "Imagine the Brazilians or the Chinese doing their own internet. That would be the end of the story.

    No, it would be the end of spam!
  • by Peldor (639336) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @04:00PM (#13767676)
    Just put Google in charge. It'll be that way in 5 years at the current rate.
  • This is crap (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RLiegh (247921) * on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @04:00PM (#13767683) Homepage Journal
    Basically it boils down to the fact that smaller nations want the right to filter and censor everything for everyone they find objectionable. Good riddance, let them go, I say.
  • Threaten The Worst (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheFlyingGoat (161967) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @04:02PM (#13767703) Homepage Journal
    Of course the EU doesn't like the US having control over the DNS name servers. The thing to remember is that these are politicians... they will threaten the worst possible outcome of not giving in, in an attempt to gain public support and force their opponent to give in. There won't be a "war" of any sort. It'll be all contained within the political arena. No politician will allow their constituents to be effectively cut off from the DNS nameservers, meaning the rest of the world will just have to deal with it until they can offer the US some reasonable trade for allowing the nameservers elsewhere.

    It's like when one political group cuts funding in a certain area. The other group retaliates by threatening to adjust for the funding by cutting police, fire, and education services. They could just work to be more productive and cut things like gov. cars and employee cell phones, but instead will choose the most emotional service possible and threaten with that.

    This is NOT going to affect us.
  • Bad journalism (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jeffrey Baker (6191) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @04:03PM (#13767715)
    Of course Slashdot prints half-truths and fearmongering 26 times a day, but it is fascinating to watch the mainstream press get this story wrong so many times. This argument is about the contents of a *text file*, one which the USA does not even currently control. ICANN publishes the root DNS information, and the root operators, who are dozens of independent, international parties, can choose to accept or decline. If the UN, the EU, or the National Hockey League wants to publish their own root information, they are perfectly free to do so. Why don't they put their zone out and see if anyone adopts it?
    • Re:Bad journalism (Score:4, Insightful)

      by smallpaul (65919) <paul&prescod,net> on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @04:33PM (#13768049)

      Of course Slashdot prints half-truths and fearmongering 26 times a day, but it is fascinating to watch the mainstream press get this story wrong so many times. This argument is about the contents of a *text file*, one which the USA does not even currently control. ICANN publishes the root DNS information, and the root operators, who are dozens of independent, international parties, can choose to accept or decline. If the UN, the EU, or the National Hockey League wants to publish their own root information, they are perfectly free to do so. Why don't they put their zone out and see if anyone adopts it?

      So let's say that China and the EU decide to get together and do that? What will happen is that Americans will start to get different resolutions for domains than people in other countries will. This could cause massive disruption of e-commerce and Internet usage in general. Do you really think it would be better to cause the disruption and "see what happens" rather than try to negotiate a settlement? According to TFA, the EU wants other countries to have some kind of formalized "influence" over the process. It doesn't seem so unreasonable to me.

      "We have no intention to regulate the internet," said Commissioner Reding, reassuring the US that the EU was not proposing setting up a new global body.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @04:08PM (#13767771)
    oooOOOoooo!!! oooOOOOOOO!!! uuUUGGGGGGRRRGHH!

    Wait? That's not the kind of climax you meant?

    Sorry. My mistake.
  • by reallocate (142797) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @04:23PM (#13767940)
    If I wasn't an American, I'd look at this little temper tantrum and say: "Why should I let the Americans run the Internet? I didn't vote for any of those people." (Some of you don't get a chance to cast a meaningful vote for anything or anyone, but that's another story.)

    But, I am, in fact, an American, so I say pretty much the same thing: "Why should I let the UN or the EU run the Internet? I didn't vote for any of those people."

    As a matter of fact, whoever you are, where ever you are, you didn't vote for anyone running the net today, and, no no matter who wins this spat, you won't be able to vote for them tomorrow.

    Don't know about you, but if I don't get a chance to vote for 'em, I really don't see much difference between one undemocratic, unrepresentative functionary and the next.
  • by tjstork (137384) <todd,bandrowsky&gmail,com> on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @04:28PM (#13767989) Homepage Journal
    Really. If the Europeans want to build their own DNS system and start issuing their own IPs, they can go right ahead. Same with China. That's the only option that they have. In the meantime, the USA should tell them to pound sand and we are under no obligation to fork over control of it to anyone.
  • by alta (1263) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @04:47PM (#13768201) Homepage Journal
    I think the UN should just take it over. And in doing so, create their own internet, and sever any links that connect the US from the rest of the world.

    I mean hey, that would take care of all the issues with the chinese people seeing all those websites about freedom and democracy.

    Me being a USian wouldn't really have a probelm with it. Yeah, there are some nice bbc.co.uk articles worth reading. New Zealand and Australia have some nice things every now and then, but other than that I won't notice. I'd go as far as saying that 90% of the americans on the internet wouldn't really notice if the rest of the world left us.

    NO, WAIT I'M WRONG! We WOULD notice. Our levels of Spam would suddenly become a fraction of what it is now. No more spam from russia and china. Sounds GREAT TO ME!

    And as a sysadmin, this would really take care of our ipv4 issues. Now we can get all those IP's back that we gave to the rest of the world. We won't have to move to IPv6 anytime soon.

    Sure, some companies may do business overseas, so the big ISP's can build a 'gateway' product. Let them pay per meg to use it. All international traffic can go through there. Those can be run by EU/UN friendly companies.

    So, bring it on world. Cut us off. See if we care! The South shall rise again!

    (Yeah, I just wanted to say that last part)
  • What to control? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by feelyoda (622366) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @04:50PM (#13768225) Homepage
    I thought comments from here [instapundit.com] were good.
    why would the EU and the UN want to grab control, when that control right now is only being used for laissez faire? Because they want to /stop/ the laissez faire!

    China wants to take down Tibetan and Falun Gong sites. Germany wants to ban neonazis from the internet. The arab nations would want to kick off Israel until it "fulfils its international obligations". Etc etc. This is nothing less than an attempt to stuff the information genie back into its bottle.

    At all costs, they must be prevented from claiming the spurious moral high ground! Confront them with the question: what would you change? And, why not go through process at ICANN? What would you want to do, that they would refuse? And why?
  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @04:58PM (#13768310)
    In fact there are products that implement local DNS on your computer so you can still browse by name if the main DNS servers are down/unreachable.

    The DNS data -USED- to be huge- but now it is a dot on a typical 300 gig hard drive.

    Nothing prevents any country, business, or person from setting up a new DNS server and saying "come here for your addresses first!" And all you have to do is configure your computer to use them.

    If I set up a server, I could list a range of addresses on it by totally different names. I'd kinda like the Max domain.

    www.msn.max
    www.maxo.max
    www.min.max
    www.slashdot.max (aka www.duplicatearticles.max)

    If you configured your browser to look at my computer for addresses first, then you could use those addresses in your browser and other programs.

  • by Frangible (881728) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @04:58PM (#13768312)
    The internet is a creation of the US military that they were kind enough to let civilians use. Just because we allow our international friends access does not mean they have the right to usurp ownership of something that is not theirs. GPS is another military technology that the US military was nice enough to share with civilians. Should they vote themselves the power to take that over too? It is used worldwide.

    Personally, I do not believe the UN has any business interfering in either technology, and it would seem to me power-grabbing actions like this are simply a disincentive for the military to openly share technology with our international friends in the future.

    I for one would think a more appropriate reaction from the UN would be gratitude for sharing the technology in the first place and bearing the financial burden. Appearently that isn't the case, though.

    • GPS is another military technology that the US military was nice enough to share with civilians. Should they vote themselves the power to take that over too?

      We don't need to -- we're well aware of the risks of depending on the US continuing to make the servive available, which is why we're building our own GPS network [eu.int]

    • The internet is a creation of the US military

      No, it ain't.

      It is the invention of DARPA, yes. But 99% of today's Internet was not created by them, it runs on commercial hard- and commercial or Free software, and largely outside the USA. It has become a global network, and it is not the DARPA's pet project anymore.

      Funny thing is - the DARPA has acknowledged that for a decade or so. Only the current US administration is a little behind the times, as usual.
  • by Medievalist (16032) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @05:01PM (#13768340)

    Seriously, the USA exercises exactly as much control over the namespace each sysadmin chooses to give them.
    Change your name service switch configuration and Jack's a doughnut!

    Now, IP address numbers, that's another matter entirely. Packet routing depends on the numbers, and allocation of the numbers = control of the Internet. If I hate you, I'll give you a number in a chinese or korean block that has been blacklisted globally for spamming - take that you filthy wogs!!

    For readers mercifully free of the burden of a sense of humor: I'm not a racist. For those unfamiliar with proper english: Wogs start at Calais.
    • by Corydon76 (46817) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @05:12PM (#13768452) Homepage
      Seriously, the USA exercises exactly as much control over the namespace each sysadmin chooses to give them.

      That cuts both ways. How likely are you to switch your DNS over to a new, untested root server system?

      I think it really comes down to the old question, "What if they held a war, and nobody came?", except that in this case, the question will be, "What if they propose a new set of root servers, and nobody used them?"

  • Profit!!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by isotope23 (210590) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @05:02PM (#13768356) Homepage Journal
    1. Threaten internet meltdown to gain concessions
    2. gain political influence over IP addresses and DNS registration.
    3. Create U.N. "user fee" i.e. tax for IP and DNS
    4. Profit!!

    This is about censorship and taxation plain and simple. Alot of countries don't like the "wild west" say anything, find anything, freedom available now.
    The politicians see a very unregulated and untaxed power void....

  • by RexRhino (769423) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @05:40PM (#13768766)
    Governments hate the internet... the free, virtually anonymous, uncensorable, decentralized and global communication amoung people is not desirable for the power elite. They prefer easily trackable and controllable traditional forms of communication. It is the goal of every government to turn the internet into something like television, radio, and telephone that can be easily controlled and monitored.

    So the issued to be considered are:

    1. China, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuala, and the other nations that have been pushing for U.N. governance of the internet, have openly said that the reason to do so is to better control it. This is not conspiracy theory, this is easily verifiable fact. They have openly said that the current way the internet works makes it too hard to fight spam, track criminals, protect people from pornography and hate speech, etc, and that the U.N. should take control so that the Internet can be better policed, taxed, and servers can be licenced. The explicit and open goals of U.N. control of the Internet is so that governments can completly control it.

    2. With ICANN (which isn't the U.S. government by the way) "controlling" the Internet (which they don't really do), it is pretty clear that the Internet is still largely anarchy.

    So, you have a choice. Turn over control of the Internet to the U.N., and absolutly, certainly, without question turn the internet into a government controlled medium like TV or radio. (remember, this is not speculation, this is the whole reason why countries are saying they want the U.N. to control the internet. This is what the U.N. is promising as the main benifit of the U.N. controlling the Internet).

    Or, we can leave it how it is for now, and have the small chance that the U.S. government might do something disruptive (which it hasn't done yet, and currently legally does not have the power to do... and if it did, it could easily be worked around by nearly every other country). And we will have the option open to form some better system later in the future.

    Inevitable Extreme Authoritarianism vs. the slight possibility of slight Authoritarianism which can then be easily corrected - I am going to choose the latter.

    Perhaps it IS dangerous for any one organization (ICANN which is based in the United States) to have too much power over the internet. That is fine. That is a legit point. There are many ways to handle it other than giving absolute power to a different political body (The UN which is based in the United States). The internet could be made completly decentralized. Or perhaps the U.N. could be given control with a set of restrictions that makes sure the Internet always stays free. But none of these are being discussed, because the people advocating U.N. control find those ideas undesirable.

    I think it is sad that the majority of people on Slashdot are willing to see the Internet becoming a controlled Authoritarian medium (as the U.N. openly and proudly promises to make it), in order to pursue their knee-jerk anti-American agenda.

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