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EU Claims Internet Could Fall Apart Next Month 1401

Posted by Zonk
from the seems-a-little-sky-is-falling dept.
freaktheclown writes "The battle for the control of the Internet could hit a climax next month, with the EU saying that it could 'fall apart.' From the article: 'The European commission is warning that if a deal cannot be reached at a meeting in Tunisia next month the Internet will split apart. At issue is the role of the US government in overseeing the Internet's address structure, called the domain name system (DNS), which enables communication between the world's computers. It is managed by the California-based, not-for-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) under contract to the US Department of Commerce.'"
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EU Claims Internet Could Fall Apart Next Month

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  • by It doesn't come easy (695416) * on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:32PM (#13784105) Journal
    Icann, and you can't.
  • by olympus_coder (471587) * on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:32PM (#13784108) Homepage
    Let them all start their own DNS systems, breaking the Internet into segments. Let their own stupidity be their punishment. First, they will legislate that ISPs operating in their countries will no be allowed to use root DNS servers other than their own...

    Then, their citizens will realize that this effectively isolates them from anyone smart enough to stick with the current, very functional, system. Then, the break away group will begin bickering back and forth as some members want to use their control of DNS to influence both local and international political views. It will further splinter into smaller useless segments.

    At some point the citizenry in some of the smarter countries that broke away will realize how stupid this is when they can't use credit cards controlled by US banks, or interact with US companies easily. They will usher the bureaucrats out to the gallows and the hole problem will be solved.

    ====

    This whole thing is about controlling the flow of information. The currect (US led) system has 0 political control of domains. The US government doesn't tell ICANN to remove a root DNS entry if they have a problem. The find the server and seize it according to the law. If it is overseas, they work with the local government.

    We bitch about the government restricting freedom of speech here in the US in general, but Europeans and especially China and the middle east are the the people with no real freedom in that respect (they can't even legally complain about not having freedom of speech in may cases). Allowing governments like that any control over the Internet on the international scale would be a disaster for free speech and a victory for dictators and autocrats that want complete control.
    • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:38PM (#13784172)
      They will usher the bureaucrats out to the gallows and the hole problem will be solved.

      I assume by this you mean filling said holes with bureaucrats after they are finished with Project Gallows.

      Happily, this may also reduce required funds for road maintenience so it's really a win-win. :-)
    • by Ignignot (782335) * on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:41PM (#13784196) Journal
      While I don't agree with your "let them go try it and get burned" approach, I agree that it is a bad idea to have a country without a strong right to free speech to have control over root DNS servers. The United States has a stronger free speech than most of Europe (in that we allow racism and nazi speech) and certainly stronger than countries like Iran and China. Honestly I think that the right way to do it is to make the ICANN answerable to no one (not sure how you do that), or maybe Sweeden because I like those guys. The whole internet is based on voluntary agreement as everyone on slashdot already knows. If the ICANN is just some corporation on its own, and not responsible to the US government, why couldn't we just all agree to use its DNS servers, like we already do?
      • A few questions (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mykdavies (1369) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @03:00PM (#13784478)
        Which principle is more important: ICANN remaining a US company; or protecting free speech on the internet?

        Is every solution that guarantees free speech dependent on ICANN remaining under US control?

        Which principle should be safe-guarded, and which one is negotiable?

        If this is really what the debate is about, I can kind of understand the EU's concerns in specific hypothetical circumstances, though I don't understand the intransigence of the US representatives.

        I suspect though that this is just a dick-size war, and we'll find out later on that it's really all posturing to show a position of strength for GATT negotiations.
        • Re:A few questions (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Ironsides (739422)
          I suspect though that this is just a dick-size war, and we'll find out later on that it's really all posturing to show a position of strength for GATT negotiations.

          I'll second the dick-size war when we are talking about US-EU. When talking about US-China or some other, I'd say control (dam anonymity on the internet kind of thing).

          Is every solution that guarantees free speech dependent on ICANN remaining under US control?

          When the solution is under the US or under the UN and free speech is the topic
          • Re:A few questions (Score:5, Insightful)

            by loqi (754476) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @08:01PM (#13787161)
            Even the EU is more restrictive than the US.

            Is that so? I keep hearing this parroted, but I haven't really seen a decent breakdown of what constitutes our incredible free speech lead. We have obscenity laws on the books, right now, that are being used to prosecute citizens of the U.S. for exercising their dear 1st amendment rights. We have "free speech zones" outside of which protest is illegal.

            By comparison, some of the EU member states have laws against hate speech.

            According to Reporters Without Borders [rsf.org], much of Europe kicks our ass at press freedom as well.
            • Re:A few questions (Score:5, Interesting)

              by AxelBoldt (1490) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @10:12PM (#13787789) Homepage
              Even the EU is more restrictive than the US.

              Is that so?

              When it comes to speech on the internet: yes. I only know the situation in Germany:

              • Anonymity is illegal, every website has to be signed with a real name and address
              • All hard core porn has to be protected by adult-only technology (requiring a credit card does not qualify as adult-only technology)
              • Parody does not create an exemption to copyright law
              • No Nazi propaganda allowed
              • Far more stringent libel laws (UK is a lot worse still)
              • Blasphemy is illegal, "if it may endanger public peace"

              But you're right, in the real world Europe typically has more freedoms than the US.

      • by I confirm I'm not a (720413) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @03:04PM (#13784529) Journal

        I agree that it is a bad idea to have a country without a strong right to free speech to have control over root DNS servers.

        But the arguement isn't to transfer control from the US to another country; rather, it's to transfer control from one country to all countries (or, strictly, an agency representing all/most countries).

        I don't trust any country to act in anything other than their own self-interest. Hell, I'd personally lynch a politician if I thought they'd rather represent foreign interests above their own constituents. It's for that reason that I believe control should pass to a pan-national body - so the Internet is governed by consensus rather than hope (that the US won't pull the plug on, say, Venezeula).

        • by magarity (164372)
          I'd personally lynch a politician if I thought they'd rather represent foreign interests above their own constituents
           
          So what did you think when the SCOTUS cited "foreign laws" when stiking down death sentences for juvenile offenders?
           
            I believe control should pass to a pan-national body
           
          Like the UN and how famously well that group agrees and gets things done efficiently? To whom, exactly, is a theoretical "pan-national" body accountable?
        • by TummyX (84871) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @04:39PM (#13785625)

            to transfer control from one country to all countries (or, strictly, an agency representing all/most countries).


          The internet is the greatest vehicle for free thoughts and free ideas. This is incompatible with many governments who you would want to give representation over how the internet is run. To me, that is simply not acceptable. No country (especially corrupt totalitarian states) has a right to have a say in the internet is run. I don't care if they're in the UN club or not.

          Why on earth would you want to give countries like Iran, China and South Korea a say? They're already limiting internet access for their own citizens, let's not allow the UN to elect them to the "international internet governence and taxation council" shall we?


          that the US won't pull the plug on, say, Venezeula.


          If Venuzuela is worried about their government web sites going down they can easily force all their ISPs to reroute all DNS requests to government websites to the appropriate servers.

    • by southpolesammy (150094) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @03:03PM (#13784520) Journal
      ObQuote from the movie Airplane [imdb.com].

      ...they knew what they were getting into. I say, let 'em crash.
    • by flibuste (523578)
      Sir, you are a mountain of ignorance regarding the rest of the world. Your statements show the extent of your blindness:

      The currect (US led) system has 0 political control of domains.

      Do you really believe this?

      We bitch about the government restricting freedom of speech here in the US in general, but Europeans and especially China and the middle east are the the people with no real freedom in that respect (they can't even legally complain about not having freedom of speech in may cases).

      First it s

  • by ZakuSage (874456) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:33PM (#13784116)
    But... what will all the Slashdotters do with their time? Surely you can't expect us all to... *gulp* leave our computers?
  • Fall Apart? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TechyImmigrant (175943) * on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:33PM (#13784125) Journal
    What can happen is that a bunch of governments set up their own root servers which no ISP in their right mind will direct their DNS servers at. Nothing will change and the world will continue as it was, except someone gets to look a bit silly.
    • Re:Fall Apart? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris&beau,org> on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:46PM (#13784263)
      > which no ISP in their right mind will direct their DNS servers at.

      They will enact laws requiring it. Then the customers will start pointing their workstations and access points at open DNS servers in the Free portions of the Internet, the Great Firewall of Europe will be erected to block access to the Free DNS servers and finally people will be fined for pointing at the 'wrong' DNS servers. THEN the heads will start going up on pointy sticks. The big question is whether there remains enough of a spark of Freedom to make it the government officials heads the ones on the sticks or whether it will be the 'traitors' among the users who refuse to use the state sponsored servers.
    • Re:Fall Apart? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Intron (870560) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:46PM (#13784269)
      Or more likely:

      1) Various govs. set up their own root servers. People in that country use their root servers.

      2) The operators of the various root servers keep them synchronized with each other.

      3) The internet continues to operate just fine.

      • Re:Fall Apart? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by QuestorTapes (663783)
        Agreed. There's no reason at all for any problems until and unless someone in the EU starts handing out domain names that collide with domain names issues elsewhere. Even then, the problems would be limited to those domain names that are in conflict. Unless someone in the EU reissues duplicate domain names for fairly major sites, the problem would be limited. If someone in the EU -did- reissue, say, "www.google.com" to someone else, the most likely result would be people in the EU pissed at their own domain
        • Re:Fall Apart? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Dwonis (52652) * on Thursday October 13, 2005 @04:41PM (#13785657)
          There's no reason at all for any problems until and unless someone in the EU starts handing out domain names that collide with domain names issues elsewhere. Even then, the problems would be limited to those domain names that are in conflict. Unless someone in the EU reissues duplicate domain names for fairly major sites, the problem would be limited. If someone in the EU -did- reissue, say, "www.google.com" to someone else, the most likely result would be people in the EU pissed at their own domain authority.

          If that happens, some people will inevitably patch their DNS resolvers so that everything under ICANN's root will go under ".us" (e.g. google.com.us or google.de.us), and everything under the EU's root will go under ".eu").

          Then somebody will come along and start selling "super-top-level" domains under this system...

      • Re:Fall Apart? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by burnin1965 (535071) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @04:01PM (#13785245) Homepage
        "Or more likely:"

        It is quite possible for the resultant scenario to be peachy, however, I'd like to throw a wrench into your "likely" conclusion.

        Perhaps the EU and others are pushing for more control of the DNS root server administration simply out of spite for the US. Or they could have intentions which are contradictory to current DNS administration policies.

        If it is the later and they do setup their own DNS servers then the synchronization will eventually become borked as they add their own flavor to the DNS results. If that happens then I predict an exodus from the borked EU system, or whoever's system, back to what already works being administered by ICANN.

        If on the other hand they do intend to run the DNS as before but with shared control then I see no reason to argue over it and they SHOULD setup their own DNS system. There is nothing forcing anyone to use the system which is controlled by ICANN.

        What would be nice is to hear some specifics from both sides as to the WHYS of their demands. So far it sounds like the EU and other nations are saying "give us more control of it because" and so far the only arguement out of the US is "we wont because you guys will use the control to censor". Both arguements are weak, but the just because arguement is definitely the weaker.

        burnin
  • by patrickclay (898576) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:34PM (#13784126) Homepage
    ...a whole new definition to the term "netslpit"...
  • by Washizu (220337) <<ten.tsacmoc> <ta> <yevragneb>> on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:34PM (#13784133) Homepage
    There will be Internets after all.

  • Just to be clear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:35PM (#13784146)
    The European commission is warning that if a deal cannot be reached at a meeting in Tunisia next month the internet will split apart.

    Just to restate - the internet's not going to "fall apart" on it's own. They're planning on breaking it. The terminology they use makes it sound like the network's fragile and about to break. That's not the case.

  • Rubbish (Score:5, Informative)

    by barcodez (580516) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:36PM (#13784151)
    This would require everyone in the EU to reconfigure the nameservers to point at a different set of root servers overnight. It's just not going to happen. Speaking as someone in the EU running a number of nameservers I'm not going to do this if it effects my ability to resolve domain names correctly. I might, overtime, add some additional EU nameservers if they are none disruptive but this will be a gradual process.
    • Re:Rubbish (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mysidia (191772)

      You do assume they won't do something insidious like have all DNS queries to the root servers redirected to their own name system, by rerouting their ip blocks, or pass laws to mandate a transition away from the "Legacy" domain name system.

      It could be like you say, but it is no means certain -- if the EU bureaucrats know enough to be dangerous, they could really make a mess of the internet.

      But it wouldn't be that the internet fell apart on its own -- it would mean they broke it, through incompetent

  • Newsflash (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mordors9 (665662) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:36PM (#13784159)
    This just in from Chicken Little- The Sky is Falling. Isn't it amazing that now suddenly if they don't get control the whole thing is going to fail? Wonder how it has held up all of these years.
    • by badasscat (563442) <`basscadet75' `at' `yahoo.com'> on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:43PM (#13784236)
      Wonder how it has held up all of these years.

      Isn't it obvious? European governments weren't involved in designing or running it. Is it a coincidence that as soon as they decide to inject themselves into the situation that now the net is going to "fall apart"? I don't think so.

      It's like when you buy that new DVD player, and only allow the adults in your house to use it. It works fine, right? But as soon as you let your five year old kid near it, all of a sudden it's clogged up with peanut butter. This is no different.
  • by ThePyro (645161) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:37PM (#13784165)
    There's absolutely no reason why the Internet has to fall apart. If it does then it's because they want it to. I think the countries behind this push for change should seriously consider whether they're doing more harm than good... if you were a citizen in a country that decided to "break off" from the rest of the Internet, wouldn't you prefer to keep your access to the old one rather than start over from scratch?

    I would expect to see a huge demand for access to the primary Internet, and the new one would just sortof shrivel up and die.
  • They're Dreaming (Score:3, Insightful)

    by digid (259751) * on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:37PM (#13784167)
    Let them split...just see how long it will last. The article says China, Brazil, Russia, and some Arab states may end up creating their own versions of the internet. I say go ahead. I don't read Chinese, Brazillian-Portuguese, Russian or Arabic anyway. If the EU decided to jump in on this too I say go ahead it won't last long. No matter how much pressure the EU puts on the US to gain partial control of the root servers the bottom line is by splitting the internet you are going to piss off 225 million+ internet users in the EU who no longer can get to all their favorite sites anymore. For many people this might just be enough to cause a massive loss of business which would bring pressure from the thousands of ISPs throughout europe against the EU. I applaud these countries for wanting to actively participate in the architecture of the internet but I think they should remember not to look a gift horse in the mouth.
  • by popo (107611) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:39PM (#13784185) Homepage


    Help me out here: I understand the politics here. That part makes sense.

    But who are the corporate winners? Call me a cynic, but I'm far too jaded to believe this is all one big "f*ck you" to the US. And I refuse to believe its about "control" when our control isn't the least bit restrictive.

    Someone's going to make bank off this. Politicians are puppets not puppetmasters.

    Who profits?

    Follow the money.

    Any insights?
    • If EU/UN/!ICANN controls "Teh Intarweb" (DNS), then they can tax it. Anybody up for a "Universal Service Charge" attached to every domain name registration and lookup?

      Lucky for us, this whole thing is retarded, and we'll just keep our resolvers pointed where we want while anybody else does fuck all for what we care.
    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:56PM (#13784423) Journal
      It's defensive maneuvering, in anticipation of the US exerting greater control.

      Cuo Bono? Who knows, for now. But as cyberwar becomes a reality, and access to the internet becomes evermore an economic necessity, the EU is not happy with one nation having too much control over teh internets.

      Would any nation willing cede control of its highways to another nation? I think not.

      So, to answer your question of who benefits:

      Potentially, any nation that is not the US. Any company doing internet business within any country not in the US. The politicians, who gain a better public image by standing up to the unpopular US.

      If you're looking for corporate profits, I'm sure there are some companies that stand to make some cash. Enough to create a diplomatic crisis? Doubt it.
    • by Ironsides (739422) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:57PM (#13784424) Homepage Journal
      But who are the corporate winners? Call me a cynic, but I'm far too jaded to believe this is all one big "f*ck you" to the US. And I refuse to believe its about "control" when our control isn't the least bit restrictive.

      In some countries, the problem IS that the US "isn't the least bit restrictive". Remember, there are some countries out there that don't have Freedom of Speech, Religion, Protest, Anonymity or many other things. Think of the Great Fire Wall of China for starters. Then there are those that also want to eliminate all the porn on the internet. So yes, I'd say it is about "control", or lack there of.

      Someone's going to make bank off this. Politicians are puppets not puppetmasters. Who profits? Follow the money.

      Only is some places are Politicians puppets, not all. Tell me Castro is a puppet, or that Stalin was one as well. Money isn't the end all of everything, "power" is. It's just that in some places, money can give power. At best, the only company I can think of to make some money off of this is Cisco, selling more hardware, but probably not as some countries are looking at implementing their own standards that are incompatible with what everyone else uses. Those who provide filtering technologies and fire walls stand to lose a great deal. No nead to filter if the nets are physically seperate. Those are just the major players I can think of.
  • Alternative (Score:5, Funny)

    by rlp (11898) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:40PM (#13784191)
    I assume that it's mostly the French govt. pushing this. Perhaps they could develop their own alternative to the Internet. It could be run by the French telecom which could use telecom infrastructure and distribute some kind of network appliance to all of their customers. Oh, wait ...
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:41PM (#13784199)
    Imminent Death of the 'Net Predicted! [catb.org]

    Film at 11. USENET cliche [google.com] by 1989. EU resolution in 2006... 2017? 2038?

  • The problem is (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CSHARP123 (904951) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:42PM (#13784211)
    ICANN is not a multi billion $ mega corporation. If it were one no country would have bothered about this. All the politicians would have gotton some kickbacks and would have been happy letting them control do what ever they want.
  • by WhiteWolf666 (145211) <(sherwin) (at) (amiran.us)> on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:43PM (#13784230) Homepage Journal
    FTA:

    The EU plan was applauded by states such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, leading the former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt to express misgivings on his weblog: "It seems as if the European position has been hijacked by officials that have been driven by interests that should not be ours.

    "We really can't have a Europe that is applauded by China and Iran and Saudi Arabia on the future governance of the internet. Even those critical of the United States must see where such a position risks taking us."


    As I've said before, I'll be happy if the issue of IP address allocation is handled by the ITU. DNS should not be under the control of a central organization.

    Notice that in the U.S. you are permitted to use any DNS you may like? Sure the root DNS server is Icann moderated, but you can select anything?

    Anyone believe Iran (I'm 1/2 Persian) will allow that? Or China?

    Or that China will permit a Taiwanese TLD in the New, UN-moderated, EU-sponsored DNS governing association?

    Places like S. Arabia, China, and Iran can't wait for DNS to be controlled by the UN, because all kinds of silly nonsense happens in UN politics. Although China may have its sights set on the RoC, as of know, its insane to posit that Taiwan isn't an independant nation.

    Yet the UN does not recognize it as such.....

    Just my 2 cents.
    • by Atzanteol (99067) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @03:40PM (#13784982) Homepage
      "We really can't have a Europe that is applauded by China and Iran and Saudi Arabia on the future governance of the internet. Even those critical of the United States must see where such a position risks taking us."

      Reminds me of a quote I'm going to paraphrase (don't remember the speaker - Churchill?):

      I'd rather argue against a hundred idiots than have one agree with me.
  • by Allnighterking (74212) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:44PM (#13784249) Homepage
    Mine, Mine, Mine, ... Mine, Mine..... *sigh*. The real problem comes in domain name ownership. I can see it now people asking the question "Am I at http://www.wellsfargo.com/ [wellsfargo.com] the bank or http://www.wellsfargo.com/ [wellsfargo.com] the Nigerian scam site. What it really boils down to is taxes. The internet is a system that exceeds the lawbreakers(makers whatever) ability to grasp in a manor that they can wrap a tax around.
  • by mr_rattles (303158) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:49PM (#13784315) Homepage
    If it means spammers in China, Russia, or anywhere else US anti-spam laws don't apply are using a separate Internet than the US then why wait a whole month? Let's split the Internet now.
  • Future news (Score:5, Funny)

    by It doesn't come easy (695416) * on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:50PM (#13784327) Journal
    Six month's since the Internet fragmented into a thousand separate networks, companies across the globe report an astounding 600% increase in productivity on average. Said one spokeperson, "Not only have computer virus infections fallen to an all time low, we're saving over 98% of our bandwidth costs. Plus, we have so much budget left over each month from our IT operations, we're rolling out a profit sharing plan to all our employees." Numerous businesses report skyrocketing demand. For example, print media said they've seen an explosion in demand for magazines. Of course, all is not good news. Some technology companies have reported a drastic drop in demand for many of their products. "We are having a real tough quarter," said one Symantec sales manager, on condition of anonymity. Cisco also reported much less demand for it's high end networking boxes. "We can't give 'em away. I've never seen anything like it."
  • by ethnocidal (606830) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:51PM (#13784338) Homepage
    The EU is not trying to destroy the internet, it is trying to do quite the opposite; it has recognised that countries like China, Brazil and Iran are making strong moves to setting up their own independant root servers, irrespective of the US.

    They are trying to act as brokers between this position, which is not in the interest of the EU, and the maverick US position, which flatly disclaims any notion of international coordination on these issues. Repeat after me: the EU is not trying to split the internet, they are trying to maintain the current cohesion.

    They are a broker between two arguments, and should be applauded as such, rather than vilified and slandered as 'splitters' or malcontents.

    'The EU does not intend to scrap Icann. It would continue in its current technical role.

    Instead Europe is suggesting a way of allowing countries to express their position on internet issues, though the details on how this would happen are vague.

    "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.

    Rather she talked of a "model of cooperation", of an international forum to discuss the internet.'

    [Taken from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4327928.stm [bbc.co.uk]

    • by Kaa (21510) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @03:07PM (#13784569) Homepage
      Instead Europe is suggesting a way of allowing countries to express their position on internet issues, though the details on how this would happen are vague.

      I am sorry, but what exactly prevents countries from expressing their positions on internet issues?

      If Iran or China or whoever wants to set up its own root DNS servers it can do it right now, without asking anyone. That's rather suicidal, of course, and I am all for letting them find it out the hard way...
    • Oh, B.S. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 13, 2005 @03:17PM (#13784690)
      "they are trying to maintain the current cohesion."

      There is no grievance except that:

      1) Iran, China et. al *do* want to censor the net. They don't like the current situation.

      2) The EU is trying to be relevant here. And they'd like a way to control the internet for taxation purposes. They've stated that many times in the past.

      3) The EU is teaming together with a bunch of 3rd world, tin-pot countries to "demand" something from the U.S. that we built and administer perfectly. Oh, except for giving EU taxation powers, and third-world countries censorship powers.

      4) Lets fact it the EU has a fundamentally different view of free speech than the U.S. we can't reconcile it here or anywhere, so that disagreement will always be there.

      5) The EU is only fooling idiots in that its trying to be an independant broker.

      6) The U.S. is running the DNS servers the way they ought to be run: free from governmental control.

      If China, Iran, and Brazil break away, I don't care. It doesn't affect me even a little bit. If the EU breaks away. Fantastic. CU later. Buh Bye. Sorry to see you go.
  • blackholes.us (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chiller2 (35804) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:51PM (#13784340) Homepage
    "Viviane Reding, European IT commissioner, says that if a multilateral approach cannot be agreed, countries such as China, Russia, Brazil and some Arab states could start operating their own versions of the internet and the ubiquity that has made it such a success will disappear."

    If China, Russia, Brazil and some Arab states start their own Internet like networks I can get rid of the RBL lookup code on my mail system. Excellent! ;)
  • by Dr. Zowie (109983) <slashdot@@@deforest...org> on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:51PM (#13784343)
    A confederation of disgruntled DNS servers, of which OpenNIC is one, has been running an alternative namespace to ICANN for a long time now. Looks like opennic.org and opennic.net have been taken over by evil cybersquatters in the ICANN namespace -- but point to opennic.unrated.net [unrated.net] and expand your DNS horizon...
  • UNcooperative (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:51PM (#13784346) Homepage Journal
    Thank Bush that our new UN ambassador, John "Blow Up the UN" Bolton, is so widely respected for diplomatic consensus building and multilateral internationalism. His committment to peaceful cooperation among all American allies and enemies, as well as his softspoken manner in reconciliation behind selfless American leadership, will surely manage this crisis. And his love of the Internet as a global medium unfettered by politics will certainly prioritize this matter beyond the usual politics.
  • by aepervius (535155) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:54PM (#13784389)
    I think the main problem is that at any time, the US can have a veto right on what happens. Think whatever you want, but as a country, if a foreign country has that much power on my infrastructure and public service I would quite simply do whatever I can to get out of the situation. That is what is happenning here. The WORLD does not want any country having a veto power over their own service. You think most country want to policy internet you are quite missing the point. They could ALREADY simply do it without DNS control by policing to hell the ISP (if you want to sell internet connection then you have to obey the local law). They do not need control of the DNS server. They only want to make sure that even if the US suddenly want to impose policy change, then their infrastructure won't be criplled overnight or influenced...
  • The Almighty Buck (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zx75 (304335) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @02:56PM (#13784413) Homepage
    What is going to happen when the EU and a large number of countries splinter the Internet because the US refuses to release sole control of the primary DNS servers?

    Sure, customers in those countries may be upset over not being able to access their favourite US-based websites, but how upset do you think the large US multinational corporations are going to be when the lose their entire overseas web customer base overnight?

    I think the EU is playing it smart, betting on the fact that the buck has such powerful sway in the US that if the government doesn't agree, they will be made to in very short order when the large US corporations start pressing to get their customers back.
  • by JohnQPublic (158027) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @03:20PM (#13784737)
    Part of the problem is that ICANN acts as if it was a sovereign body, or at least one with UN sponsorship. How would you feel some NGO sponsored by Iraq took the .US domain down and refused to assign it to the US Federal government? The .IQ situation is just one of the cases where ICANN has acted in a seemingly-arbitrary manner when dealing with supposedly-sovereign states. ICANN is absolutely begging for an intervention.

    There's just no way that ICANN should be involved at all in the delegation of the country-code domains. That's a task for a globally-accepted multi-lateral bureaucracy, like the ITU or ISO. Most of those organizations get their legitimacy from the UN, and ICANN doesn't want to go there.

    Now .BIZ, .TRAVEL, .XXX, that's the horse of a different color you've heard tell about. But then again, some of us Internet alte cockers think that there was never any need for more than .COM, .EDU, .MIL, and .ORG and that those shouldn't be US-centric.
    • by houghi (78078) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @04:38PM (#13785615)
      But then again, some of us Internet alte cockers think that there was never any need for more than .COM, .EDU, .MIL, and .ORG and that those shouldn't be US-centric.

      I even think that that should not have been used. Is there a .mil for the Enlish army? Or does the university of Leuven, Belgium has an edu adress? No. Those TLS's are US only, so why not stop that and make them com.us, mil.us and whatever.us.
  • The fact is that it has done a DAMN good job thus far managing DNS, and despite some hiccups, the First Admendment is still in affect here. Freedom of speech must be absolute short of causing immediate physical threat to people like shouting FIRE in the theater. The only way not to start down the slippery slope of censorship, especially when it's as easy as changing a DNS entry, is to not take that first step.

    And who exactly is it that wants control of DNS? France, so they can shut down Nazi websites and threaten E-Bay into removing WWII memorabilia listings? China, so they can be absolutely sure that their population is ignorant of anything the Glorious People's Revolution doesn't want them to know about (like say, Tinamannen Square or the Great Leap Backwards)? Iran and Saudi Arabia, so they can block out the evil west and keep their people from finding out that all Westerners are not, in fact, evil blood-crazed monsters who want to destroy them? Cuba and North Korea, so they can block the websites of the Evil Capitalist Exploiters of the Common Man?

    In other words, politicians whose agenda involves using DNS to censor the Internet and pervert it into nothing more than a state-controlled interactive TV. Say what you will, but so far the United States has done a remarkably good, fair, and unbiased job of handling DNS. Those who want to take control hate the fact that it's been fair and unbiased because they want to use it against their 'opponents.'

    Dear North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, France, China, Russia and co: Leave your meatspace BS in meatspace. I refuse to let your petty bureaucratic empire-building destroy the greatest medium of information exchange ever to exist.
  • Control (Score:4, Informative)

    by solarlux (610904) <noplasma@yaho o . c om> on Thursday October 13, 2005 @04:29PM (#13785508)
    The latest issue of The Economist had an interesting article on this. A couple key quotes:

    "The EU proposal, announced by Britain, which currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, was intended as a compromise between the UN supporters and America. It would create a new organisation to set policies over distributing routing numbers, creating new domains and the like. Because of its role as chair, Britain, usually America's closest ally on internet issues, had to stay neutral and could not beat back calls by Denmark, France, Spain and the Netherlands for greater government influence over the internet. After the announcement, Brazilian and Iranian delegates rushed to congratulate British officials, whose faces dropped when they realised the EU policy was being lauded by America's loudest opponents."

    "However, the disingenuousness of the position was made clear during the meeting last month in Geneva. Some countries demanded that groups representing business and public-interest causes be thrown out of the room when governments drafted documents for the summit in November. In one instance, delegates from China and Brazil actually pounded on tables to drown out a speaker from industry."

    "The good news from the UN meetings is that governments increasingly understand the importance of technology to society. The bad news is that the internet risks becoming suffocated in their embrace."
  • by constantnormal (512494) on Thursday October 13, 2005 @05:09PM (#13785910)
    ... because ...

    If we apply that old Watergate adage, "Follow the money", and examine the financial implications of this, we quickly see that multinational corporations are the ones whose oxe gets gored.

    What will happen to Wal-Mart (or any of a bazillion other companies) if they cannot easily communicate over the internet between Arkansas and China? How will Apple ship iPods in a timely manner, given the very close connections between the Apple Web Store and the manufacturing plants in China?

    There's an incredible amount of money riding on the continued smooth operation and openness of the internet. Globalization depends upon it.

    Maybe Kim Jung Il will be able to live without the commerce managed over the internet, but the list of countries that are so isolated as to be able to get by is a very short one.

    The internet will continue unchanged, due to its dual nature, the other side being globalization. As soon as anything upsets the rivers of money flowing around the world via the internet, the true rulers of this small blue orb, the multinationals, will stomp it to death and return things to their previously smooth operation. Not even China dares disrupt the flow of commerce. One might say that China has the most to lose by tinkering with the internet. If the Euros would shut their collective pie-hole and think for just a second, they would see the reality of the situation as well.

One possible reason that things aren't going according to plan is that there never was a plan in the first place.

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