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ICANN's Cozy Relationship With the US Must End, Says EU 193

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the feeling-left-out dept.
alphadogg writes "The exclusive relationship of ICANN with the U.S. must end, said the European Union's digital agenda chief on Wednesday. California-based ICANN is responsible for the assignment of top-level domains and has a long-standing operating agreement with the U.S. However, following the revelations by Edward Snowden of widespread surveillance of the Internet by the National Security Agency, many countries have questioned the arrangement. The historical relationship, noted in ICANN's Affirmation of Commitments, is outdated and the governance of the Internet must become more global, said the E.U. Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes. Kroes was presenting the European Commission's new policy on Internet governance, which rejects any United Nations or governmental takeover of Internet governance and calls for a move to globalize ICANN."
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ICANN's Cozy Relationship With the US Must End, Says EU

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  • Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dan East (318230) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @11:17AM (#46228693) Homepage Journal

    I'm failing to understand the issue here. Anything ICANN does is essentially public. Any changes to domain IP addresses have to propagate out to everyone, so it's not like they could cause traffic to be arbitrarily rerouted, etc. Sounds like just another straw man attempt to get the ICANN out of the US.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @11:43AM (#46228895) Homepage
    Worse than that. A lot of countries outside the US would likely use ICANN to restrict content. China might want to restrict websites which talk about all sorts of things. European countries would want to restrict hate speech and Holocaust denial. Islamic countries would want to restrict blasphemous websites. Etc. For all the many faults of the US, ICANN is one thing that must stay in US hands if we value free speech.
  • Globalize where? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by quietwalker (969769) <> on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @11:47AM (#46228935)

    So the problem seems to be that ICANN is an american corporation, and thus subject to the laws of the US, and that in turn, could be used against foreign powers?

    The solution then is to 'globalize' it? Where is it going to be 'globalized' to? Which country could it exist in where it would have immunity to any laws and act with impunity in regards to them?

    When I see the complaints against it by China, Russia, the EU, and so on, they're always advocating more restrictions, protection of their interests. They want the ability to blacklist sites that talk about their politicians, that discuss unfavorable religions or religious rights, that cover alternative lifestyles such as gay or transgender, and so on. They want to do it without arbitration, automatically.

    What they really are complaining about is that they don't have absolute control over it, and they want it. Everything else is just a pleasant lie or deliberate misdirection.

    Let's be fair; the US has more than it's fair share of faults, but our definition of freedom is still incredibly wide reaching compared with the vast majority of countries in the world, and we're big enough to make it hard to push us around with political power alone. That's the big problem they're seeing. ... besides, use of the current DNS registry system is entirely voluntary. There's nothing to stop someone from coming up with their own, like the TOR network did. If it's better, people will use it over the current one. Though, I think they realize that any replacement that is more strictly controlled will never be considered 'better', so they need to subvert the current one.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @11:54AM (#46229015)

    We inveted your language. We get that little bonus.

    Which is why you maintain control of the Oxford English Dictionary. When we became America we didn't like it, so Daniel Webster made our own Americanized dictionary, instead of trying to insert our opinions/culture into your dictionary. You're free to do the same with whatever shitty network you have inside your borders.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 1s44c (552956) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @12:06PM (#46229135)

    Do you trust the US government? If so you are the only one that does.

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @12:12PM (#46229197)

    Of course you are right, but we in the US also have a vested interest in keeping the internet coherent as much as possible. Giving the EU more control might eventually be in our best interest. After all, we, too, can always separate from them if they steer in a direction that we do not like.

    What I absolutely do not support is UN control. The UN is primarily there to prevent nuclear powers from going to war, and thus far it has done a fine job of that. Most of the members are shitheads with far more restrictive speech laws than the US. The EU, on the other hand, really only differs from the US in hate speech. If they could be persuaded to not enforce hate speech laws through ICANN, I don't have a problem with giving them influence.

  • by SLi (132609) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @01:40PM (#46230037)

    It's quite simple really: The US cannot prevent losing control, but they can have it happen in an orderly way and perhaps get a better position in the resulting system.

    You see, it's not like there is some magical Key To the Internet which is stored in a bunker in Oregon and which you can choose to either hand over or not. It's also not something you really can defend with guns to prevent other countries from having it.

    It's rather more like having control over the rules of international air traffic. If you do it well and neutrally enough, it might be that few countries are annoyed that they don't have a say in the process you have set up for writing the rules. But you have no way of really enforcing those rules except inside your own borders.

    Currently ICANN which drafts the rules (and works as the judges) for the Internet is for historical reasons set up as a US entity. It having control over the Internet means no more and no less than all countries deciding to implement their decisions.

    The reason why ICANN still has control and the reason for this statement by the EU is that other countries are still hoping for a negotiated solution, because that's generally the way the civilized world works. The US might be in a slightly better position to negotiate than other countries, but if it refuses to negotiate, it will surely lose that advantage. An orderly solution would be in everybody's interests, while more unilateral action would harm everyone.

    The orderly way to proceed would be to continue with ICANN, just internationalized. The disorderly way might be setting up a parallel organization and start disregarding ICANN.

    Still you must realize it's a pipe dream that a single country with a few percent of world population could keep the right to make the rules for much longer. So sad you Americans feel offended about this. The rest of the world doesn't really think it's even asking for anything that in any meaningful sense belongs to you when they ask to have a say.

Premature optimization is the root of all evil. -- D.E. Knuth