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EU The Internet

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

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 The historical relationship, noted in ICANN's Affirmation of Commitments, is outdated and the governance of the Internet must become more global, said the E.U. Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes.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.
      • Best of both worlds :)

      • by jopsen (885607)

        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.

        DNS filtering is already happening... there are pros and cons, it'll never be standardized or required by international law.

        An no, don't tell me to trust the US to safe guard free speech... You openly violate human right, torture and spy illegally on millions of people on a unprecedented scale. (Don't tell me spying is legal, it's a clear violation human rights convention). Oh, and skip the arguments, that the human rights convention shouldn't be honored, I don't even want to hear it.

        Fact of the matter

      • by Xest (935314)

        "Worse than that. A lot of countries outside the US would likely use ICANN to restrict content."

        So what would change? The US already does this. The ICE domain seizures of legitimate overseas businesses were only possible because ICANN is a US entity and this was worse than Chinese censorship because it was cross-border international censorship carried out unilaterally by the US. At least in an international setting the censorship would merely be local or shot down due to lack of consensus. Right now the US

        • by JoshuaZ (1134087)
          Most of your points are completely valid. I agree that the censorship is going on here right now. The problem is that any movement outside the US will almost certainly make the situation worse rather than better because of the large variety of interests with different censorship goals and no serious ideological commitment to free speech.
    • Any changes to domain IP addresses...

      I don't think that's the only thing ICANN does all day, is it?

      Anything ICANN does is essentially public.

      What about their reasons for doing what they do (do)?

    • by ChadL (880878) *
      One problem with ICANN now is that they hold the root DNSSEC keys, so anyone who controls the strings of ICANN can spoof otherwise secured DNS records (and the associated SSH/PGP/HTTPS key pinning done with said records). The NSA, for example, I'm sure would be interested in the ability to man in the middle domains that are seen as important (ones that someone bothered to sign with DNSSEC).
      I'm also sure that the GCHQ is equally interested in getting their hands on said keys.
  • The best way to stop spying is to not let any connections to foreign websites. Whilst i'm not one for great firewalls or suchlike (and as a brit i despise David Macaroon's internet filtering policy) maybe it's time to start filtering connections from certain countries. If the EU is so worked up about America controlling the internet (which it does) maybe it's time to set up a Euronet and filter connection to and from the US. Would it help keep the internet free? No. But the internet will never be free whils
  • Right now, everyone is in an uproar over Net Neutrality, how (at the moment) we don't have it, and how the few big ISPs are going to ruin the Internet, turning it into another version of the Walled Gardens of the pre-Internet era. However we, once again, are just being distracted by this from the real threat: the rest of the world. We here in the U.S. need to remember: We're just a single-digit percentage of the world's total population, yet we've got (at the moment, anyway) an inordinate amount of power of
    • We're just a single-digit percentage of the world's total population, yet we've got (at the moment, anyway) an inordinate amount of power of the shape and direction of the Internet as a whole.

      I think the power of ICANN and the US is rather greatly overstated when it comes to the internet.

      I personally don't think that the U.N. is the body that should have control over the course and form of the Internet

      Ok, fair enough. Who should then? I hear this all the time how people dislike the UN for various reasons that they always seem unable to articulate but honestly I can't think of any other body better positioned to play quasi-neutral arbiter. Of course politics are going to play a role - doesn't matter who ultimately is the controlling body. If you don't like the UN filling this role then who else do you prop

      • The UN's general assembly is a democratic body with one vote for each participating government. Most of the governments of the world are broken.

        Ergo the general assembly is broken. Look at what the general assembly does on a day to day basis and you will find confirmation.

        Most people that understand the UN could explain this to you. Perhaps you weren't listening?

        • by sjbe (173966)

          The UN's general assembly is a democratic body with one vote for each participating government. Most of the governments of the world are broken. Ergo the general assembly is broken.

          If you think the UN really works like that you don't really understand how it works. The more powerful governments have influence over the less powerful. Furthermore relatively little [un.org] is done through the General Assembly which is just one part of the UN and not necessarily the most important part.

          I don't really care if the UN or the US controls the internet. I do however suspect that the 95% of the world that is not the US will sooner or later decide to circumvent ICANN at some point if they don't change

      • by kheldan (1460303)
        Apparently you didn't read my entire comment because you missed shortly after that where I said that I don't know who or what should be shaping the Internet in the future.
        • by sjbe (173966)

          Apparently you didn't read my entire comment because you missed shortly after that where I said that I don't know who or what should be shaping the Internet in the future.

          Oh I saw it. And my question remains. If you don't like the UN (for reasons you failed to enumerate) then who else? Saying it shouldn't be the UN when you have no one else in mind is pointless. Even saying we should leave it with ICANN is some sort of an answer.

          • by kheldan (1460303)
            I'm going to have to assume your question is rhetorical or aimed at anyone but me since I've said "I don't know, I don't have the answers".
      • by Holi (250190)

        How about an independent non-profit organization.

  • The headline should read:
    ICANN's Cozy Relationship With the US Must End, Says ____________ [insert name of any country not spelled "United States of America" here]

  • Globalize where? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by quietwalker (969769) <pdughi@gmail.com> 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 sahuxley (2617397)
      A bit of a sidetrack, but this is what most disappointed me about the whole NSA surveillance thing. We (the US) have probably the greatest ability of any country to protect freedom on the internet and be a force for free speech and expression in the world, yet our trampling of the 4th amendment is squandering that. We *claim* to bring freedom to other countries with guns and bombs, yet fail an opportunity to bring it to them with technology and computers.
    • by Holi (250190)

      I have the solution. Sealand should run ICANN.

    • by Guy Harris (3803)

      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.

      So when did the EU (as opposed to China or Russia) advocate those things and indicate that it wants those abilities?

    • by Tom (822)

      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?

      It needs to be trans-national, and we already have organisations like that - the UN itself is an example.

  • by sirwired (27582) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @11:48AM (#46228947)

    The US "must" do this? I do not think that word means what you think it means.

    I can see why the EU and/or UN would want the US to give up control over the ICANN contract, but every time this comes up, I have yet to see a single reason presented as to why the US would agree to do it.

    Diplomacy involves the practical application of either the proverbial Carrot or Stick or Both. "Do this or I'll write further Official Letters demanding it" is not much of a stick, and it certainly isn't a carrot.

    • 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 d

      • The disorderly way might be setting up a parallel organization and start disregarding ICANN.

        LOL good luck with that, bro.

      • Firstly, I'm not "offended" that the EU would like control of the ICANN contract. I'm simply stating diplomatic realities that simply demanding something when you offer no good reason for the other party to comply is empty grandstanding.

        What, specifically, has the US Dept. of Commerce made ICANN do that it would no longer do if it's contract was turned over to another political body? What problem, specifically, with the US owning the ICANN contract are you trying to solve?

        And again, why would the US agree

    • by Tom (822)

      Uh, I can see reasons. Actually, I see little except reasons, because quite obviously, ICANN is utterly insane and horrible, and the insanity it displays is clearly american in spirit - the same "we know everything, go fuck yourself, our way or the highway" attitude that the USA displays to the rest of the world.

      • I didn't say there were no reasons that it might be nice if ICANN was not under a US contract.

        What I said was that there aren't any reasons for the US to go along with this plan. No national government is in the business of giving away power to other countries simply because those other countries want it.

        • by Tom (822)

          Oh yes, all the way with you on that. The US is not going to give up any control of anything willingly. Heck, you guys still have soldiers stationed in Germany almost 70 years after WW2.

  • The stewardship the US has exercised has been far from perfect, and recent years have shown it to be even worse than previously believed. But for all that, even within the context of recent revelations, it has still proven considerably less-intolerable of a steward than any other proposal yet put forward.

    For all the EU's talk of Internet freedom, most nations have moved to curtail it within their own borders, and their efforts have achieved considerably more support within their borders than the correspondi

  • I fail to see how internet addressing and numbering is directly related to the NSA (and GCHQ, which Neelie Kroes fails to mention) spying on individuals. Also the argument of agility seems a bit off too. Once you start adding a multitude of (governments) stakeholders to any project, things tend to slow down not become more agile.
  • Here's a big blast of logic for you: what country invented the majority of the internet's protocols, hardware, and design? Domain registrations really don't have a whole lot to do with spying either and that's the majority of what ICANN handles. The W3C has more of an impact on the actual internet.
  • We invented the internet, if it wasn't for DARPA and Al Gore, there would be no ICANN. Just like with GPS. If you don't like the US version, build your own.

    Nevermind that Europe, while better on privacy rights, is far worse on freedom of speech rights. Technical measures can help with privacy but it is very hard to overcome freedom of speech restrictions with software ('m talking rights to, not the ability to. Ability means nothing if it lands you in jail or your speech is removed)

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Nevermind that Europe, while better on privacy rights, is far worse on freedom of speech rights.

      Not sure where you get this from, but I see this nonsense reiterated quite a bit here.
      I'd be perfectly fine here sitting in the middle of Germany and saying that I'd like to see Israel get bombed flat or that the Jews are inferior people. Sure, people will think I'm an asshole, but there's no law against that. There is however a law that forbids you to claim that there was not a huge number of jews killed in WW2 or that concentration camps don't exist.
      The French hate speech laws are of a similar nature, sol

      • Except that isn't true. Various jurisdictions in Europe have problematical laws and positions regarding free speech on the internet that you haven't touched on.

        Some examples include abusive libel laws, especially in GB, and lese-majesty laws still in force in Norway, Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands.

        Belgium has a long history of blocking web sites that are engaged in 'naughty' activities such as sharing files, scalping tickets and selling drugs such as diet pills online.

        France has in place three-strike le

  • DNS needs to be redesigned. The internet can't exist in a neutral state having one organization with control over any critical part of the network. Distributed DNS seems to be the answer.
  • At least they appear to get it with regard to the UN; the US will never submit control of ICANN's many responsibilities to ITU or any other UN snuggery and deserves the eternal gratitude of the entire species for that profound wisdom.

    So at least their "new policy" hasn't automatically obviated itself.

  • But there's exactly jack and shit they can do if ICANN and the US tell them to fuck off.

  • by Salgat (1098063) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @02:29PM (#46230569)
    The only reason why it's acceptable to allow ICANN to be controlled by the U.S. is because they have the strongest free speech laws. I simply don't trust other countries as much as the U.S. in that regard.
  • First Guy: Look, I made this incredible communication device!
    Other Guys: Wow. Cool! Can we use it?
    First Guy: Sure!
    Other Guys: OK, but we own it now, OK?
    First Guy: Uh......

  • Thanks to Russian leaks, we already know the answer: "fuck EU"

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