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The Internet Government Politics

A Monroe Doctrine for the Internet 708

Posted by Zonk
from the ours-all-ours dept.
InklingBooks writes "An article in Foreign Affairs suggests that in a tersely worded statement the United States has issued a 'Monroe Doctrine' for the Internet. The Monroe Doctrine was a unilateral declaration by the U.S. that it would not permit European powers to establish new colonies in the Western Hemisphere." From the article: "Everyone understands that the Internet is crucial for the functioning of modern economies, societies, and even governments, and everyone has an interest in seeing that it is secure and reliable. But at the same time, many governments are bothered that such a vital resource exists outside their control and, even worse, that it is under the thumb of an already dominant United States. Washington's answer to these concerns -- the Commerce Department's four terse paragraphs, released at the end of June, announcing that the United States plans to retain control of the Internet indefinitely -- was intended as a sort of Monroe Doctrine for our times. It was received abroad with just the anger one would expect, setting the stage for further controversy."
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A Monroe Doctrine for the Internet

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  • a new internet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ajdlinux (913987) on Friday November 04, 2005 @04:59PM (#13953656) Homepage Journal
    There's still the possibility of an alternate internet. The US can't enforce rules online.
    • Re:a new internet (Score:5, Insightful)

      by l2718 (514756) on Friday November 04, 2005 @05:14PM (#13953792)
      There's still the possibility of an alternate internet. The US can't enforce rules online.

      The situation is more complicated than that. You can't have conflicting IP addresses without having completely separate networks, which is impractical (everyone will want to be able to connect to sites under the American Hegemony), and you don't want to have conflicting DNS records either. Indeed the rest of the world can set up their own DNS servers for a new TLD (say '.earth'), but they can't force anyone to contact the root server for that domain. The result will be chaos.

      Now, the US stands to benefit from controlling a global resource (just like oil-producing countries benefit from controlling the oil supply). The article seems to hint that it's wrong. You can hardly fault a government from wielding its power to make the world better for its citizens (isn't that's their function, after all?). Of course the US government doens't always seem to have the benefit of all its citizens in mind most of the time, but that's a separate issue. If we don't like what the US government does, we can ask our governments to negotiate with them to change their behaviour. And naturally we will have to offer them something in return -- TANSTAAFL.

      • Re:a new internet (Score:2, Insightful)

        by giorgiofr (887762)
        The situation is more complicated than that. You can't have conflicting IP addresses without having completely separate networks, which is impractical (everyone will want to be able to connect to sites under the American Hegemony), and you don't want to have conflicting DNS records either. Indeed the rest of the world can set up their own DNS servers for a new TLD (say '.earth'), but they can't force anyone to contact the root server for that domain. The result will be chaos.

        True. Chaos, indeed.

        Now, th
        • Re:a new internet (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Kadin2048 (468275) <[slashdot.kadin] [at] [xoxy.net]> on Friday November 04, 2005 @05:36PM (#13953985) Homepage Journal
          You're probably going to get flamed for it, but that was pretty much the best five sentence summary of the situation and resulting U.S. position that I've heard in a while. Glad somebody said it.

          The bottom-line issue is that the rest of the world wants the U.S. in their internet, a lot more than the U.S. -- generally speaking -- cares about being able to access the rest of the world. Think about the average user in the 'States (which is not the same as the average Slashdot user, so spare me your "but *I* access foreign content all the time" whining): if the rest of the world went black, there are quite a few people that wouldn't notice. They're using a U.S. ISP to access a U.S. backbone to get U.S.-created content off of a U.S.-based server. Although I've never seen a statistic, I'm willing to bet that a fairly high percentage of the packets transmitted over any part of the Internet in a day, both originate and end in the U.S.

          The rest of the world and the U.N. can talk all they want about getting control of the internet and IP address allocation and everything else, but at the end of the day they are going to have to deal with the fact that if the United States Government and the people of the U.S. collectively say "from my cold, dead hands, Europe" they are clearly in the less advantageous negotiating position.
          • Re:a new internet (Score:3, Insightful)

            by giorgiofr (887762)
            I don't understand how you could misinterpret my post, but you managed to do it. I repeat: you (you AMERICANS, is that clear now? good) are not in any position to negotiate because you have no negotiating power. Want to "unplug the internet", as you seem to imply you can do? Please do. After about half a day of WTF?!s our root servers will be humming nicely and you can bet we won't be sad because of our tragic loss.
            The real problems come later, when half of the world begins using our so-called root servers
      • Re:a new internet (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kjella (173770) on Friday November 04, 2005 @07:02PM (#13954595) Homepage
        The situation is more complicated than that. You can't have conflicting IP addresses without having completely separate networks, which is impractical (everyone will want to be able to connect to sites under the American Hegemony), and you don't want to have conflicting DNS records either. Indeed the rest of the world can set up their own DNS servers for a new TLD (say '.earth'), but they can't force anyone to contact the root server for that domain. The result will be chaos.

        I haven't heard anyone speaking of splitting the IP space, only DNS. Conflicting DNS records is not as bad as it sounds. You could easily resolve this by having a "metalevel" of google.com.foo and google.com.bar which would query two different root servers for the lookup. And the government can force ISPs to point to their root servers. Things would be rather hairy, but it'd work out. I imagine every company that is eligible for a DNS entry in both trees would get both to avoid domain squatters, just one more burden. The US is really making a mess by making it seem that important. If they had played it cool, showed some nice bills "Ok you want to join us in paying for the world's DNS structure? Nice, we were looking for someone to share the costs with. It's really nothing but a management hassle." and the rest of the world would have dropped the ball like a dead rat.
        • Re:a new internet (Score:3, Insightful)

          by kevinbr (689680)
          You say- "Nice, we were looking for someone to share the costs with".

          ICANN is seekingn money fron other nations NOW. Let me see - Taxation without representation......does that resonate?

          The problem is that ICANN is looking for money from countries with no real input on governance. Why should the UK or France pay ICANN? Yet ICANN seems to want ccTLD's to pay it's operational costs. ICANN does not fund or pay for the root DNS servers. They have no oversight except a theoritical and not often role of redelegat
      • Re:a new internet (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Snaller (147050) on Friday November 04, 2005 @09:09PM (#13955320) Journal
        You can hardly fault a government from wielding its power to make the world better for its citizens (isn't that's their function, after all?).

        Not when it turns the rest of the world against its citizens.
      • Re:a new internet (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rbanffy (584143) on Friday November 04, 2005 @09:38PM (#13955439) Homepage Journal
        You can hardly fault a government from wielding its power to make the world better for its citizens (isn't that's their function, after all?).

        I really didn't want to say that, but spending too much effort on making the world a better place for its own citizens without much regard to others resulted in a lot of theocracies, kleptocracies and dictatorships, a couple planes being flown into buildings, lots of dead people, a few questionable wars, a bunch of kafkesque prisions with kafkesque prisioners and a quite questionable presidential re-election.

        Most definitely, the world is far worse a place now. For just about everybody.

  • by matt4077 (581118) on Friday November 04, 2005 @05:00PM (#13953669) Homepage
    ... I feel the internet is rather save in us hands. At least better than in that of Cuba and Iran. And even in Eurpean countries, some politicians don't always understand that freedom is always the freedom of different opinions (or sexual preferences and tastes).
    • Which is exactly the reason why the root DNS servers (and not "the intarwebz" as you make it) should not be run by an American government. Or yours or mine.
      (Then again, there should be no governments at all in my ideal world, but hey - let's start with the easiest things first.)
      • > Which is exactly the reason why the root DNS servers should not be run by an American government

        Good, because they're not.
        • Yeah... It just so happens that the supposedly independent org that controls them is owned by the US and is subject to American laws, and as such might be asked/forced to do things that a really independent org wouldn't.
          • Since they are in the US and under US law, the US's definition of "fraud" and "consumer protection" apply. Not anyone else's.

            So the US does control them.

            If there is a disagreement over who has what domain name, it is US law that decides the case if it goes to court.
          • It just so happens that the supposedly independent org that controls them is owned by the US

            No, it's not. http://www.icann.org/general/ [icann.org]

            and is subject to American laws

            True.

            and as such might be asked/forced to do things that a really independent org wouldn't.

            Independent... how? In international waters? On "Sealand?" In YOUR country?

    • by Rei (128717) on Friday November 04, 2005 @05:10PM (#13953755) Homepage
      Yeah, America is the world's great respector of human sexuality - we'd never pass things like DOMAs.

      Where'd you get that notion from?

      Yeah, America would never try to pass legislation regulating good taste on the Internet - nothing like the Communications Decency Act or the Child Online Protection Act

      Again, where'd you get that notion from?

      Yes, we're a heck of a lot better than, say, China. However, we're not talking about giving China the freedom to censor the internet. We're not talking about giving anyone the freedom to censor the internet; this has nothing to do with new protocols or a global firewall. It's about who controls ICANN. Since ICANN doesn't take part in those things, such topics are irrelevant to the debate over who controls it. This conversation is about DNS and registrar accreditation.
      • by aaronl (43811) on Friday November 04, 2005 @05:19PM (#13953851) Homepage
        Of course, you're right about the US not being some kind of perfection. It's a good system that has been twisted around. It barely resembles the original framework, at this point.

        The problem you get with the way that the UN or the EU is talking about doing it, is that you would have an even *bigger* beauracracy in charge of it. You *would* have countries like China or Iran or Cuba that took up as chair of the DNS committee. You'd have a technical resource directly controlled by a "government" with no actual authority. It's one thing to set standards on an international level, but quite another to have things like this controlled by something like the UN.

        The US shouldn't be running DNS, nor should the EU or the UN. Right now, the US doesn't really run it, but they have influence. If it was in the UN, then lots of people accountable to none of us would have influence, and quite a few of them are nearly diametrically opposed to free speech, or even freedom in general.
        • by Rei (128717) on Friday November 04, 2005 @05:28PM (#13953927) Homepage
          A lot of people picture UN-run organizations as being something like congress directly running an aid organization. That's not how it works. In general, the UN as a whole or part appoints the leader of a UN-run organization, and that leader is in charge of the management. Few would claim that, say, UNICEF is some sort of organization in which the Chinese ambassador steps in to try and stop aid to Indian children, or whatnot (the sort of things that people here are picturing would happen in UN control of DNS). In reality, the UN would pick a department head, they manage the organization. The only influence that the UN itself would have would be on changing who heads the organization.

          The UN is actually quite effective when it comes to global things that few people object to the presence of, only possibly the implementation of (for example, aid programs for children - or, in our case, domain name services). It's only when it comes to issues that people feel seriously infringe on their national sovereignty (such as peacemaking, arms reduction, etc) that the UN loses its bite.
      • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Friday November 04, 2005 @05:21PM (#13953865)
        Why not advocate that each and every nation that wants to should setup its own TLD DNS servers?

        If they want them to just forward requests to the ones in the US, that's fine.

        If that nation wants to break those searches, that's fine too. The only people they'll be hurting are their own citizens. And the smarter ones will be able to re-direct the queries to other servers.

        This is the biggest stupid fight about NOTHING.

        The ONLY issue would be .com names and such and what organizations are allowed to register them. But that would also be solved in this fashion. If a Korean site gave "slashdot.org" to one of their friends, then Korea could not get to "slashdot.org" ... but everyone else could.

        If they can't play nice, they're only hurting their own people.
      • by QBRADQ (928482) <qbradq@gmail.com> on Friday November 04, 2005 @06:15PM (#13954283) Homepage
        FYI: It's the Child Internet Protection Act, but that's not very relivant right now.

        What is relivant is the fact that the US governing bodies have been in a trend of increased censorship and denial of liberties to it's citizens since the information boom began. Don't get me wrong, I am a US citizen, and I love my country, but my government has been placing a higher and higher value on the needs and wants of the few as opposed to the many. The liberties of the majority are now infringed upon and at times out-right denied in order to maintain the liberties of the minority. Let's think about some issues here:

        Ok, without getting into a political argument, let's just all quitely reflect on some major issues in the US in recent times with regards to fair access and technology.

        Affirmative Action (forcing companies to hire certain people based on ethnic background rather than employable skill or experiance)
        Excerting influance on video game companies, example is Grand Thieft Auto: San Andreas (the game was pulled from shelves after comming under heavy fire because it was posible to hack the game to show sexualy explicit content)
        Pressuring and even prosecuting P2P networks because thier service could be used for illegal activities. I'd like to point out that I can commit a felony crime with a telephone, but they're legal.
        Prosecuted Microsoft for having a monopoly on the OS market (a market with very little competition outside of the Open Source world, BTW, TUX=ROX).
        Forcing broadcasters to switch to digital signals (it's been passed already, it just won't come into effect for a few years).

        And the list goes on and on and on. Our governemnt seems technologicaly ignorant at every turn. The conservatives cling to the dead and dieing, the liberals want Hippy Freedom which just doesn't work (that was proven in the 60's, sure it was fun, but the 80's really sucked because of it), and the moderates just don't care. Put that together with the foringe policy tendancies to be the global watch-dog, and see what happens:

        1) Argentina calls for a boycott of US trade policy (this was on CNN THIS MORNING by the way).
        2) The US responds by inacting a trade embargo of Argentina.
        3) This embargo includes de-registering all Argentinian domains from the global DNS.
        4) Well, you can see how this would be bad.

        Think this would never happen? Think again. The US is famous for it's trade embargos. Cuba, Iran (I think), Iraq pre-war, North Korea at varous times, the USSR, and the list goes on. Does anyone honestly believe that a nation that has such policies would wave them for the most valuable resource on the planet (free exchange of information)? I think not.

        Just think about it for a minute. Some of the US's chief threats now reside on the Internet. The terrorist groups, the US-hostile news agencies, and the governments of the world are all online. If the US is to control how it's enimies are addressed on the global intranet, you can be certain of the answer. "port.iran.ml could not be found. Please check the name and try again later".

        But the rabit hole goes much deeper my friends. The US doesn't do anything piece-meal. Think about it: this country was started by a minority of people that didn't like thier current government, so they rebeled and won. Just a few short decades later and this country was "Manifestly predestined by God to expand over the whole of the continent". And once that was done, we started taking over yet more places, such as Hawiai and Alaska, and accquired yet more so-called "protectorites" such as Guam and Purto Rico. And now durring the 2000's, we're reshaping countries in our own image. We didn't like the Taliban, so we took over thier country. We didn't like Saddam, so we took over thier country.

        What's the point in all of this? The US won't stop with DNS, oh no my friends. That may be what is at issue currently, but if the US is allowed control it won't be the issue tomo
  • Damn it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Friday November 04, 2005 @05:01PM (#13953681) Journal
    People need a clue of they're going to be given power.

    The US has no control over the internet, they can mess with it and poke it a little but nothing more. The internet is an extreme communist network. You need to work together so everything works. If someone stops doing their share they get cut off and end up having to rejoin and work twice as hard or they die. It's that simple.

    No one controls the Internet, no one ever will. Anyone who tries to will lose far more than I wish to even guess at.
    • Re:Damn it (Score:3, Insightful)

      While it's technically true that no one, including the US or ICANN, actually controls the internet, it is also true that ICANN, under US authority, controls an awful lot of the way the internet is generally used. You can choose not to work with them and still make use of the internet, of course, but realistically you're going to be making life very difficult for yourself by doing so. In that sense, I see what the other countries involved are complaining about.

      That being said, I haven't seen any alternativ
    • Re:Damn it (Score:3, Insightful)

      by KilobyteKnight (91023)
      No, it's not communism. Communism is a top down approach to control where a central authority dictates what everyone does. Communism isn't about happy people working together for a better tomorrow, despite what you might have been taught.

      Your last statement about no one controlling the internet is actually anarchy... which also is not what the internet is.

      It's amazing that you could try to apply two diametrically opposed labels to the same thing... and then get modded up for it.
      • I think you'll find communism is where everyone is equal. There is no "leader" to work top down from.. if there is such a person then it's not true communism.

        The internet is communist like Japan is. The whole society wants to be communist (or is forced into it), so they act that way. The internet is the same.

        Communism can be anarchy where everyone wants the same thing so no one conflicts. Anarchy is only anarchy if theres no power and everyone has a different view point.
        • Re:Damn it (Score:3, Informative)

          by linguae (763922)

          Japan? Communist? The Japanese have a collectivist culture, but they definately aren't communist, or even leftist for that matter. Japan's economics are quite right-wing now of days, and in fact, the current administration of Koizumi [wikipedia.org]there is trying to privatize Japan's post office and to significantly reduce business subsidies, which are both against the beliefs of leftism.

          Japan's people are collectivist, but Japan's government doesn't impose collectivism on its people. There is a big difference betw

      • Re:Damn it (Score:3, Informative)

        by spurtle15 (899792)
        No, it's not communism. Communism is a top down approach to control where a central authority dictates what everyone does. Communism isn't about happy people working together for a better tomorrow, despite what you might have been taught.

        What you're describing there is totalitarianism. Ideally communism is where no one is better than anyone and everyone gets the same thing.

        • Re:Damn it (Score:3, Interesting)

          by swiftstream (782211)
          Unfortunately, in the minds of most Americans, communism is equivalent to totalitarianism. I just moved here for university a few months ago from Sweden, and let me be the first to say that I'm fairly disgusted with American's misperceptions on a lot of things. And institutes of higher education are supposed to be dangerously liberal, or something. Heh.
    • The US has no control over the internet, they can mess with it and poke it a little but nothing more.

      Not the Internet, but the IntarWeb. More specifically the master root DNS server.

      Now, so far the rest of the world has been tripping over itself to hook up to our DNS hierarchy. But, that aside, multiple roots are the only long-term solution, both from the perspective of geopolitics and competition and TLD differentiation in the DNS.

      But forget a Monroe Doctrine - the first step is to declare war on ICANN.
    • Re:Damn it (Score:2, Insightful)

      by david.given (6740)
      The US has no control over the internet, they can mess with it and poke it a little but nothing more.

      You're kidding, right?

      If the US government really wants to, they could shut down the root DNS servers, or even worse, set them to produce bogus data. That will cause, very quickly, worldwide chaos as the 'net becomes unusable. People will work around it very quickly --- I'm sure most clued-up governments have backup servers and all the major ISPs are set up to fail-over to them at the first sign of troub

      • Re:Damn it (Score:3, Insightful)

        by l3v1 (787564)
        doing that great a job at persuading the world that they're not idiots, and that's what's making people nervous

        Exactly what I wanted to say. If we could just trust enough that the US [i.e. the actual US government] doesn't want to retain full control over an international association that controls the DNS space for the reason that they may want to use this control against the rest of the world whenever they see fit, we probably wouldn't have much against it. But recent couple of years have proved the wor
    • The reason that the EU and UN keep talking such such terms is because they want to scare people in to supporting their grab of DNS. If you tell the average person the truth: "A US orginization maintins control of the text file that contains high-level domain mappings. It's a defacto standard that the DNS roots choose to listen to, but nobody forces them to do so. Also it delegates control of individual domains to the respective contries." Well, nobody will care. If however you say: "The US controls the Inte
    • The internet is an extreme communist network. You need to work together so everything works. If someone stops doing their share they get cut off and end up having to rejoin and work twice as hard or they die. It's that simple.

      Your anology is wrong. The Internet is far more free and robust that you give it credit for. Not everything as to work together fine for everything else to work. If designed right, a network can have one of its routers stop "doing its share" and still reach other networks with only min
  • Kinda silly (Score:3, Interesting)

    by houstonbofh (602064) on Friday November 04, 2005 @05:02PM (#13953682)
    The control thing is kinda silly. If the root servers become unstable due to government interference, people will use alternative servers. It happened before. There is often a technical solution for government stupidity. Even if the poweres that be don't want it...
  • Didn't we invent it? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bmac (51623)
    We invented, we govern it. Simple. If they want to
    create their own version and write the bridges, they
    can go ahead, but it was our tax dollars (DARPA) that
    developed it in the first place.

    Now, there are more than a few decisions our gov't
    has made and continues to make that I *strongly*
    disagree with, but that's for another conversation.

    Peace & Blessings,
    bmac
    • [sigh] Invention does not automatically mean control. Deal with it.

      And as another poster pointed out, large portions of what we think of now as "the 'net" are not of US origin. Here's an idea: lay aside the jingoism for a moment and realize that the internet, in all its messy totality, is now something that belongs to the world, and sooner or later we're going to have to deal with that fact.
      • Here's an idea: lay aside the jingoism for a moment and realize that the internet, in all its messy totality, is now something that belongs to the world, and sooner or later we're going to have to deal with that fact.

        But how about we wait until there's actually a hint that there might potentially be a problem with the current system before we introduce giant unknowns into it.
    • Us and Them (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PCM2 (4486)

      We invented, we govern it. Simple.

      We? We? Who's this "We" you're going on about?

      I'm going to go out on a limb here, not knowing you personally, and suggest that you didn't invent shit. I know that I, personally, wasn't even old enough to pay taxes when ARPANet was brought online, so I can't really lay claim to the idea that "my tax dollars built the Internet." Have some of my tax dollars gone to it since? Sure. But so have those of lots of other countries.

      Your attitude sounds like that of an armcha

    • by billstewart (78916) on Friday November 04, 2005 @05:59PM (#13954161) Journal
      Yes, the US government paid US universities to invent some of the fundamental technology, and set up the Arpanet backbone and some of the early exchange points. But Bell Labs invented UUCP on its own, and there were a bunch of other networks invented by various people, and there was that AOL thingy, and while Usenet was developed between a state university and a private university, by grad students who may have had NSF funding, most of the transport was UUCP, mostly slush-funded under the table by Bell Labs. And the Commercial Internet Exchange was an explicitly non-government-funded Internet peering point developed so that businesses could have email communications about non-government-related business, which was explicitly verboten under the Arpanet Acceptable Use Policies. And the big reason that the Internet took off as a popular toy was the web, which allowed exchanging pictures and text in ways that were more friendly than ftping GIF files. And of course Ted Nelson had invented Xanadu, a cosmically way cooler system years before, as he keeps reminding everybody (:-).

      But this "Governance" nonsense is mostly a smoke-screen for governments that want world-wide censorship, trying to use DNS as a level for lots of currently non-existent control. Sure, there's some US-centricness, and .gov and .mil ought to be shoved under .us, but governments that want to govern their countries' DNS space have country-code DNS with their own personal 2-letter abbreviation on it, and they can call things whatever they want under that (though if they use non-ASCII naming, there are some interoperability issues - but the big player on that issue is China, who can do their own thing just fine.) The US government does meddle a bit, first encouraging ICANN to do .xxx and then ordering them not to, but there's not that much. The problem is that China not only wants to block websites like falun-gong.cn, they also want to block falun-gong.org and falun-gong.co.uk and asian-pr0n.com.

      The big policy meddlers at ICANN are the WIPO-types. ICANN really only cares about one kind of IP, and it's "Intellectual Property", not "Internet Protocol", so they do insist that all registrars require and publish lots of privacy-violating information in whois records, to make it easy for companies that want to initiate trademark lawsuits to find who they're suing (and to make sure they don't sue the registrars or registries), but that's pretty easily evaded, and country-code DNS administrations can ignore those requirements if they're big enough.

      IPv4 space is another smokescreen excuse - yes, we're running out of the stuff, and there's obviously nowhere close to enough address space if every cellphone in Asia wants its own IP address. The fix is not to impose UN governance on ICANN, it's to deploy IPv6, and the Internet community has been doing a pretty good job of getting universities and other early adopters to hand in their old Class A space, but the big impact was really that HTTP1.1 and sendmail/etc. allowed one IP address to support many domain names for web and email. For a while, ICANN had ridiculous pricing policies for IPv6 space, which appeared designed to delay adoption of the addresses until technical policies had really been worked out (making multi-homing scale without totally exploding all the routing tables on all the world's routers is still a hard problem), but they seem to be backing off on that.

      There were also some early WSIS issues like poor third-world countries wanting to tax the Internet to pay to have infrastructure built to their countries, which is a wrong-headed approach. For most of them, the first steps need to be getting rid of their incompetent telecom monopolies, getting rid of radio spectrum monopolies so people can build widespread wireless and satellite, and getting reliable electricity at least to the big cities, and too many of those countries either view telecom as a taxable cash cow or

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 04, 2005 @05:05PM (#13953710)
    American can control the '1's and the rest of the world can control the '0's. France gets the occasional '2.'
    • by Anonymous Coward
      American can control the '1's and the rest of the world can control the '0's. France gets the occasional '2.'

      More importantly, who will have control of the 'naughty bits'?
  • Grow up (Score:2, Interesting)

    by barcodez (580516)
    Seriously can everyone just grow the fuck up, otherwise this will end badly. The US needs to hand over some control of the root servers and Europe needs to trust the US a little more - this shared responsibility can only be a good thing for international relationships.
    • Re:Grow up (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mboverload (657893)
      > Seriously can everyone just grow the fuck up, otherwise this will end badly. The US needs to hand over some control of the root servers and Europe needs to trust the US a little more - this shared responsibility can only be a good thing for international relationships.

      That might have been a good post. If you actually gave a reason for any of it.

  • I think it's pretty ridiculous to argue that the governance of the Internet should remain in the hands of any one government, even the US. There are those who would say especially the US. Most of the counter-arguments go something like this: "What, you want Cuba running the Internet?" No, I don't. But I think it's really small-minded, not to mention willfully blind, to think that the US has a monopoly on goodness and freedom. The Internet is global, and no one nation should have a chokehold over a global system. If it were any other nation, the US government would be on the side of those calling for it to surrender control to an international body.
    • If it were any other nation, the US government would be on the side of those calling for it to surrender control to an international body.

      Did you just figure this out? It is about control. There's no reason any country's going to give it up once it has control (no matter who the "good guys" or "bad guys" are). It's just reality. From my perspective as an Evil Foriegner(tm), I figure it could be worse if another country had control, or another agency, so leave it with the US. That doesn't mean that'll b
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I agree with you. This is the most moronic thing for the US to try to be stubborn about.

      1. The US really can't prevent the rest of the world from developing their own root server system. If (or more likely 'when') that happens the US is going to have to cooperate to develop bridges between the two addressing systems, looking like fools all the while.

      2. How does taking a more cooperative stance on this issue really compromise the US anyway? What is the freakin big deal that is so important that the US risks
  • Ok, as I understand the situation, the entire argument is over who controls the root DNS servers. If another country want's "control" of the "internet", all they have to do is set up they're own servers and require that ISPs in that country use they're servers.

    There is absolutely no sense in having a government of any country in charge of the root DNS servers. Given the nature of the "internet" it's almost completely out from under the control of any government anyway. The control is entirely in the hands o
  • Politicians are dumb (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RobinH (124750) on Friday November 04, 2005 @05:13PM (#13953787) Homepage
    This shows how clueless politicians are when they talk about "control of the internet". The technology is available to everyone. Any country can setup a network based on TCP/IP technology, could setup their own root servers, and regulate ISPs in their country to use those root servers for their DNS's. Several countries could even get together and create a completely alternate network cut off from "the one true internet" as well. There exist all manners of segregating the current network, just look at the great firewall of China.

    All this is about is who controls the main .com etc., domain names. I realize that some countries' domains are probably not under their control, and that seems unnecessary.

    If we really wanted to fix the whole issue without trying to figure out whose dick is bigger, you go to something like this:

    1) Make sure every country code is managed only by that country, and give them control of all root servers for that country.

    2) Create a .com.nn domain in every country code (nn) - in many cases this is already done.

    3) Give every .com domain holder the option to move their domain name under the country code of their choice. In cases where there are conflicting names, give it to the first of the two who registered it.

    4) Blow away the .com domain, the same with other non-country code domains.

    Then, every country has their own little "piece" of the internet, so to speak, and can regulate it into oblivion if they like.

    Come to think of it, as long as countries have control of their country code root servers (if such a thing exists), then we're practically there. There's no reason why the US can't keep control of .com. I guess it just means that the root servers should be segregated by country. Would that be so bad?
  • "Everyone understands that the Internet is crucial for the functioning of modern economies, societies, and even governments, and everyone has an interest in seeing that it is secure and reliable."

    The Internet has been in wide-spread use for about 10 years. It isn't crucial and if disappeared tomorrow, economies, societies, and governments would be able to function quite nicely without it.

    Having said that, I don't think the US should have too much control over it unless they intend to disconnect the US porti
  • by FuryG3 (113706) on Friday November 04, 2005 @05:15PM (#13953808)
    When other countries, IOs, or NGOs complain about the US 'stranglehold' on the Internet, I always see it as someone complaining about a problem that doesn't exist. First off, the Internet functions regardless of who controls the root servers, and if (for some strange reason) the US government did do something foolish, others are free to use different servers.

    Regardless, I'm trying to see it from their point of view. Can someone provide specific previous actions which could be used in the argument against continued US 'control' of the registry?
  • Who cares? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by marc_gerges (561641) on Friday November 04, 2005 @05:17PM (#13953832)
    This makes a great topic for furious discussions and in the end isn't really that much of an issue - after all, the worst they can do is refuse usage of root servers and not allocate IP addresses. I have 2 computers here, I can make a perfectly functional internet. The technology is there, and it's open, so while some central control over standards and roots etc is nice to have, abuse of it will not end the world.

    What I feel more uncomfortable about is carriers not playing fair. I expect bandwith providers to start tailoring their offerings to only work with content they approve of or promote - eg a broadband provider preferring his own VOIP service over competition services or his own digital TV access over the one from others. How long till 'internet access' means a big fat pipe to my provider, and a little trickle to the rest of the world, instead of the universal 'do as you please' open network we enjoy today? Unlike root servers, I cannot self provide my bandwith.

    My (monopolist) cable provider bugs me with his ridiculously priced VOIP access. I currently use competition, but I expect them any day now to throttle access to the competition's IP block by just enough to not make it work anymore....
  • by Dotnaught (223657) on Friday November 04, 2005 @05:17PM (#13953833) Homepage
    I interviewed [informationweek.com] Vint Cerf, who yesterday coincidentally was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom [whitehouse.gov], about U.S. control of the Net earlier in the week.
  • From TFA: Any network requires some centralized control in order to function.

    This statement is just plain wrong. P2P has shown that. What TFA probably means to say is "Every big network I can think of requires some centralized control"

    And I think this assumption is at the core of the controversy here. If there has to be a single unique owner of something, then yes, you're going to see fighting over who that gets to be. But why does there have to be?

    First of all, it's only DNS. Any TCP/IP stack that is
    • From TFA: Any network requires some centralized control in order to function.

      This statement is just plain wrong. P2P has shown that.


      P2P has shown no such thing. P2P breaks spectacularly when you don't have centralized control over things like addressing and naming. About the best you could hope for is an abitration protocol that would attempt to resolve conflicts - which in essence will boil down to "trust one source more than any other". This ends up being centralized control:

      Multiple DNS servers? That fu
  • Listen. If you want a DNS server, then put up a DNS server. Really. This is really, very stupid.

    Stop being stupid.

    You can put up a DNS server if you like

    The US can't stop you.

    Do you understand me. We can't stop you from putting up a DNS server.

    So put one up.

    If people use it, then you "have control of the Internet," which is also a stupid statement. Since you've equated ownership of a DNS server with control of the Internet, then I guess that this is the yard stick that we're going to use to determine w
  • by EriktheGreen (660160) on Friday November 04, 2005 @05:24PM (#13953891) Journal

    I am not sure whether to laugh or cry at the "we invented it, therefore it's ours" posts here.

    The Internet is nothing more than an agreement to interoperate between networks. The only centrally controllable resource, the DNS system, is only de facto controlled by the US government. The current DNS root servers could be abandoned by the rest of the world easily, if the US pisses them off enough.

    The US can't control the Internet any more than it can control what "good music" is. It's not something that can be controlled. Any attempt to influence it simply reflects badly on the US as a country, and works against our global interests in the long term.

    This doctrine being spoken of makes obvious the fact that most of the current US administration and lawmakers are still living in the (mid) 20th century.

    Unfortunately, they've been holding back development of our country for years (since post world war 2, when a global war made them believe in their own moral superiority) in the name of what they believe is right. Fortunately, they'll start dying of old age in droves soon.

    I just hope they don't irreconciliably damage international relations before then.

    Erik

    PS: Taco, for the love of all that's holy start using Kupu or FCKeditor, or something besides these damned textareas.

  • Hmmm (Score:4, Interesting)

    by squoozer (730327) on Friday November 04, 2005 @05:29PM (#13953929)

    While I can understand why America (well some American politicians) wants to hold on to the governance of the Internet I think it's about time it was handed over to a multi-nation body (maybe the UN maybe a separate entity completely).

    While the Internet was largely academic and US focused it made sense for it to be run from the US but it quite simply isn't like that any more. The Internet is world wide and some non-US countries have a huge amount of money riding on the Internet. In some cases democracy itself is partially dependent on the Internet.

    There is not shame in passing the Internet over to a multi-national body. In fact America could have won quite a bit of respect from the rest of the world and shown it's maturity by handing over control with little fuss and complaint. Instead America has come across as a little child that won't let anyone else play with their toy. I am sure that most of the world would have been happy with America continuing to run the Internet as long as there was a set of procedures for them to veto unwanted changes. America could have had it's cake and eaten it.

    There is one thing that is certain. The Internet will not be run by America alone for much longer. One way or another at least some of the power will be removed from American hands. The choice America has to make is simply how much power they want to keep.

    • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Informative)

      by l3v1 (787564)
      There is not shame in passing the Internet over to a multi-national body.

      Well, on paper, the ICANN is already a multinational body. The problem is with practice here.

  • by geomon (78680) on Friday November 04, 2005 @05:30PM (#13953938) Homepage Journal
    Throughout history there has always been a country leading their sphere of influence, dominating smaller countries with their policies. China and Japan in Asia, India, Persia, and Greeks, Romans in the SE Asia, the Mediterranean, and Persian Gulf, and all of the Houses of Europe have all been regional and global players who influenced the affairs of their neighbors and colonies. So why is the US treated so differently?

    I don't doubt that the US is viewed by many as a bully who should just step back and let others control their own destiny. Okay, so then what? Are you going to tell me that the everyone around the world will just arbitrarily keep the global map static? You must be smoking something.

    In every power vacuum throughout human history there has been a rush by next-tier players for the top spot. If the US declines to exert its power and influence, you can bet that China will. Russia will also step up and exert its power and authority over its smaller neighbors. Don't believe me? You don't read even recent history very well.

    For over a century the US has represented the dreams and fears of every country in the world. Our impulse to export freedom and democracy may be misplaced and unwelcome, but consider the alternatives that history has served up. How many powerful nations have simply taken a pass when it comes to taking over a vanquished enemy? Are Germany and Japan the sole territory of the US? What about France?

    I'm not saying that every policy that the US has exported overseas is great for the people we screw with. Our policies haven't always been real helpful to the US. But considering the alternatives, who would you rather were in our shoes?

    And don't forget who catches the shit for the policies of our partners. France, Russia, and Germany were selling shit to Saddam as fast as they could, but which one of these countries is the primary target of Al Quaeda in Iraq? Do you think that the absence of the US would make these fuckers disappear? Do you think any piss-ant global jihadist movement that wants attention will blow up the government buildings in Sierra Leone? Local rebels might, but global terrorists don't gain their street cred by blowing up one of the smallest and poorest nations on the face of the planet.

    The fact is that if a country like the US didn't exist the rest of the world would have to invent one. Criticize the US all you like. Just be glad you aren't the ones "on point".
    • by version5 (540999)
      So why is the US treated so differently?

      Because those were brutal regimes that exploited the colonized people to the advantage of the empire's citizens. Often, the justification for exploitation was that they colonized people were objectively inferior according to the religious and cultural traditions and mythology and it was their place in the world to serve their empirical masters. We now recognize that those justifications are fig leafs for the morally corrupt to hide a more simple motivation: greed.

  • Compromise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shrapnull (780217) on Friday November 04, 2005 @05:31PM (#13953946)
    Mod Flaimbait.

    As a lifelong American citizen, can I please ask my fellow compatriots: What the hell happened to compromising?

    Why are we no longer the "Benevolent Superpower?" So the world wants to share in our responsiblities with the DNS system and naming conventions. Is it really so different to accomplish this with an international panel as opposed to our organizations (which even still contain many international members).

    Don't tell them to build their own DNS servers and break the entire nature of freedom for the net, besides what good are they with IPv4 and the core DNS naming conventions. Adding DNS servers with gibberish for localized areas isn't going to do anything positive for the maturing of this medium.

    If we divide the core DNS system using an international medium, can we not simply "cut out" any group that does not adhere to guidelines set forth by the panel? And if the "shit does hit the fan" and someone doesn't listen, we could build our own internet (we have it already) that's even better then the old one! Why not move into that realm in case of emergency?

    I don't understand why we have to have total control. The US involvement in the creation of the internet led to this global phenomenon, now let's make it truly global. Besides, if it's part of the UN can you imagine the impact of an internet embargo against a nation (haven't quite worked out the details, but cool in theory)?

    I'm not going to rant on GW, Iraq, Energy Conservation or anything like that, this isn't the place for it. But why is it we ask so much of the international community then crap over something like this when it comes to sharing?
  • by alucinor (849600) on Friday November 04, 2005 @05:33PM (#13953958) Journal
    Long after the United States is gone, there will still be the Internet.

    Though it's also very possible we'll eventually see three internets: one controlled by multinationals and market forces, one controlled by a council of governments, and another controlled solely by individuals secretly piggybacking on the infrastructure of the other two internets.

    Damn, I should write a sci-fi novel!
  • Terse (Score:3, Funny)

    by remy (82535) on Friday November 04, 2005 @05:37PM (#13953993)
    Four paragraphs? That's not terse. Terse would be

    All your internet are belong to us.
  • by gmuslera (3436) on Friday November 04, 2005 @05:41PM (#13954019) Homepage Journal
    ... Germany announced that they control book printing indefinitely, as is widely know that since Gutenberg invented printing press there, they remain the rightful owners of that technology and all derived from there.
  • Just shoot Monroe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FishandChips (695645) on Friday November 04, 2005 @05:47PM (#13954057) Journal
    Jeez, not this subject again. It's been done to death already, and puffing it up into a "Monroe Doctrine" is just so grandiose. BS. Much better to wait until after the Tunis internet governance meeting in a few weeks' time. All that putting it on Slashdot produces is a ding-dong with a whole lot of rednecks. If the subject shows anything, then it is the extent to which the present US Administration has angered even America's most moderate good friends around the world in too many ways. I guess many Americans might be surprised at this but it's happened and it's not good news.
  • by voss (52565) on Friday November 04, 2005 @06:39PM (#13954443)
    In a word- No

    The kind of control the other nations wants is control of content. Already the Chinese put up firewalls
    and the french ban things they dont like could you imagine if these countries got control of the internet?
    You see the nations behind this China, France, Cuba, Syria, South Africa, Brazil. With the exception of Brazil all of these nations are the epitomy of either tyranny or Politically correct ideologies.

    While I would prefer an affirmative statement in favor of freedom of speech, I will settle for benign neglect.
  • by WhiteWolf666 (145211) <(sherwin) (at) (amiran.us)> on Friday November 04, 2005 @09:03PM (#13955288) Homepage Journal
    I reposted this from a reply, since I feel it is something people should understand.

    Repeat after me:

    "Anyone can setup their own DNS server at _any_ time".

    Say that 3 times.

    Sure, if you setup your own DNS server at home, you probably won't have a lot of adoption. But the EU has a great deal more reach than you, and shouldn't have any problem convincing Europeans to use their DNS. Cuba, China, and Iran will have even less.

    The answer is simple, and has little (read _nothing_) to do with ICANN, or IANA. Whenever it wants, the EU can setup its own naming authority. As long as they don't change the way IP addresses are assigned, it breaks _nothing_.

    The U.S. blocks .ir for its own residents. So what? China already blocks all kinds of things. An EU naming authority will block ALL manner of things (Nazi websites, for one. But there are plenty of other registrations that are no-go in the EU). That's fine; each organization can manipulate its own registration scheme, at will.

    Rather than having one, universal, flat global system, poorly managed by a central authority which will be unable to satisfy the contradictory demands of the various governments of the world, a fragmented _DNS_ system makes much more sense.

    You, and most other people, are misunderstanding what is going on.

    Imagine, once upon a time, when the USPTO was established, that other governments, instead of developing their own patent organizations, simply followed U.S. standards. We had a unified world wide patent system, based upon U.S. law. Then, other nations became pissed off about this, because they felt that the U.S. would use the unified patent system to the detriment of those nations.

    As such, they demand that the U.S. relinquish control of the USPTO, and turn it into the UNPTO, which would be government through the U.N. China, Iran, and Cuba, in particular, would like to see some patents invalidated, so they push hard for this.

    Does it make any sense? No.

    What makes _much_ more sense is that each government established its own patent authority, and then various governments negotiated bi and multi-lateral agreements regarding the governance of patents.

    The internet should work _exactly_ the same way. As long as the IP address space doesn't get fragmented (and with IPv6, theres NO reason for that to happen), "control" of the DNS system is a non-issue. In fact, I think the world would be a better place with a fragmented DNS system. Why? Because barring laws in unfree countries (which have their own firewalls anyway (read China)), if you don't like your DNS, you can simply point your system at another one.
  • by Epsillon (608775) on Saturday November 05, 2005 @02:45AM (#13956512) Homepage Journal
    If you want to be xenophobes and issue ultimatums, perhaps this may help those of us who don't like being held to ransom:

    http://european.de.orsn.net/rootzone.php [orsn.net]

    IPv6 root servers, too. Rather nice.
  • FUD? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by QuestorTapes (663783) on Saturday November 05, 2005 @09:50AM (#13957388)
    How the hell did they get this interpretation of the press release? Am I missing something? The intro uses rather heavily charged language that doesn't seem to be supported by the article or the release.

    As far as I can tell, the release reaffirms 4 key points the US has stated before:

    1-immediate changes to the status quo are premature; the article even notes that this is likely the best option for the short term.
    2-individual nations have a right to manage their own domains; stability is a concern for determining the best way to do this.
    3-ICANN is still in charge, and ICANN still operates under the same mandate as when it was set up.
    4-the US is willing to talk about these issues and others in various venues, including but not limited to the UN. The only reservations the US notes is that it ain't broke, let's not break it.

    Hardly seems like a declaration of cyberwar to me; the implication that this indicates that the Internet is a US only playground is overbroad to the point of sillyness. Discussions are open. The US is only stating that immediate, precipitate change is not going to get US cooperation, and that since US cooperation is necessary for immediate change, it's time to slow down and talk things over.

    At least that's how I read it.

    -------------
    The Release Text:

    Domain Names:
    U.S. Principles on the Internet's Domain Name and Addressing System

    The United States Government intends to preserve the security and stability of the Internet's Domain Name and Addressing System (DNS). Given the Internet's importance to the world's economy, it is essential that the underlying DNS of the Internet remain stable and secure. As such, the United States is committed to taking no action that would have the potential to adversely impact the effective and efficient operation of the DNS and will therefore maintain its historic role in authorizing changes or modifications to the authoritative root zone file.

    Governments have legitimate interest in the management of their country code top level domains (ccTLD). The United States recognizes that governments have legitimate public policy and sovereignty concerns with respect to the management of their ccTLD. As such, the United States is committed to working with the international community to address these concerns, bearing in mind the fundamental need to ensure stability and security of the Internet's DNS.

    ICANN is the appropriate technical manager of the Internet DNS. The United States continues to support the ongoing work of ICANN as the technical manager of the DNS and related technical operations and recognizes the progress it has made to date. The United States will continue to provide oversight so that ICANN maintains its focus and meets its core technical mission.

    Dialogue related to Internet governance should continue in relevant multiple fora. Given the breadth of topics potentially encompassed under the rubric of Internet governance there is no one venue to appropriately address the subject in its entirety. While the United States recognizes that the current Internet system is working, we encourage an ongoing dialogue with all stakeholders around the world in the various fora as a way to facilitate discussion and to advance our shared interest in the ongoing robustness and dynamism of the Internet. In these fora, the United States will continue to support market-based approaches and private sector leadership in Internet development broadly.

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken

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