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UN Official Says UN Not Taking Over Internet 104

kaufmanmoore writes "Hamadoun Toure, the new head of the UN's International Telecommunications Union says that he does not plan to take over governance of the internet and leave it up to groups like ICANN. In his statement he says that the ITU will instead focus on bridging the digital divide, internet security and standardize broadband communications. When asked about Chinese censorship Toure said that issue is beyond the mandate of the ITU."
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UN Official Says UN Not Taking Over Internet

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  • by parasonic ( 699907 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @12:09PM (#17591548)
    The UN needs to have no control over the Internet. They have demonstrated time and time again (e.g. Oil-for-Food campaign) that they are incompetent with managing programs.

    If TLD's are such an issue, let them have their own DNS system. No one is forcing anyone to use ICANN or even IANA.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Who cares about TLDs, what I want to know is who controls the IPs?
      • by parasonic ( 699907 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @12:23PM (#17591734)
        Who cares about TLDs, what I want to know is who controls the IPs?
        Yes, but the UN doesn't. For all practicality's sake, they don't even know what an IP is. They don't know how the Internet and Web work, but they certainly think that it shouldn't be something that the originator (the US) shouldn't have control of...for whatever reason. Maybe the UN should peitition the US with a list of grievances of mismanagement in order to have a reason for the whole thing to be handed over. Having control over IP addresses is a much more encompassing leash that IANA [] has and just like ICANN does not abuse.

        It's all black and white to the UN, two dimensional rather than three, and there are so many levels of ubiquity, ambiguity, and abstraction that they do and will continue to fail to see.
      • by Dunbal ( 464142 )
        what I want to know is who controls the IPs?


      • by wfberg ( 24378 )
        Who cares about TLDs, what I want to know is who controls the IPs?

        It's one of the IANA functions contracted out to ICANN, but it's implemented by the RIR []s.
      • I've gathered bits and pieces about this kind of thing from various sources over a long period of time, but is there anyone who can just lay it all out at once for me?

        The Internet, unless it is a series of tubes (I got that out joke out of the way, so you can just save it for another thread), is a network of fiber optic cable and a few other physical and link layer mediums, that are all accessible via IP. But the backbones, and the networks they provide service to, are all privatized, aren't they? So who ma
    • by Watson Ladd ( 955755 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @12:20PM (#17591690)
      The UN actually works. Remember the Korean War? The ITU does an amazing job of managing radio frequencies. And what about all the successful peacekeeping operations the UN has conducted? Do you see smallpox around? A lot of the UN bashing in America is about how badly the UN works when America doesn't cooperate. And I would prefer to have essential functions under the control of a bueracracy that has no effective leadership when it comes to devisive issues then to a bueracracy that caves to special intrests every single time.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 13, 2007 @12:34PM (#17591844)
        Yeah I remember the Korean War and the failure to either win or negotiate a peace settlement. I remember Oil for Food and all the kickbacks, I remember Darfur, Rwanda, Somalia, Ethiopia, Former Yugoslavia and all the other genocidal and refugee human tragedies that the UN did and are doing nothing about, I remember all the meaningless resolutions passed against Iraq without any consequences, I remember several individuals at the UN that sold the world famous stamp collection without approval, I remember the Tianamen Square crackdown and the UN doing nothing, I remember the UN peacekeepers being called umbrellas that fold up and go home when it rains, I remember other UN peacekeepers raping young African girls without consequence. I remember a lot of this. I also want others to remember that you can't be UNhelpful without the UN in the lead.
        • by smilingman ( 942304 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @01:45PM (#17592702) Homepage
          You're being disingenuous. The modern UN doesn't have the military power to take on any nation. Its only function in nations like these would be to provide humanitarian support and peace keepers after there was a peace to keep. Speaking of which, in all these conflicts, where was the US?
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by k1e0x ( 1040314 )
            The modern UN's military power is largely that of the US. If the UN voted to use military power the US would practically need to commit troops on some scale.

            And you cant have real peace till somebody wins.. thats the problem with the UN, they never win.. they just sit in the middle for a time then leave and the original parties go back to war.
          • Military power is not an issue. There's plenty of military power around. It's just that nobody is willing to use it. I don't know if it's because of the UN or because the member states are too scared to do anything that might cause casualties. I guess it must be the member states because the EU doesn't seem to have balls either.

            Yeah, I suppose there are several countries operating in Iraq and Afghanistan, but who's actually doing the heavy lifting and taking nearly all of the casualties?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by RexRhino ( 769423 )
            Speaking of which, in all these conflicts, where was the US?

            Because peace keeping is a lose-lose situation for the U.S... if they get involved, you will bitch about "U.S. Imperialism"... if they don't get involved, you will whine "Why doesn't the U.S. do anything to help".
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Dunbal ( 464142 )
        A lot of the UN bashing in America is about how badly the UN works when America doesn't cooperate.

        Or it arises when the UN disagrees with what America wants... just like all the France bashing that has arisen since 2003.

        (with a french accent) Hehehe mes amis les americains, I hate to say "we told you so", but... have fun in Iraq. And now you want to send in MORE troops? You reinforce successes, not failures. Strategy 101.

        The US is always very
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Oh, feel free waste a mod point to mod me troll my American friends
          oops ... what happened? 5, Insightful? Hmmm, how'd that happen? Clearly you knew very well that on /., bashing Americans and America is one of the fastest ways to get karma.

          I have plenty more karma - and it will just prove my point :)
          You just proved my point!
          • And now he's been modded down as overrated and a troll. Hmm... methinks you spoke a little soon.
          • by Tim C ( 15259 )
            Clearly you knew very well that on /., bashing Americans and America is one of the fastest ways to get karma.

            No; the fastest way to get karma is to predict that you're going to lose it *or* to invite down-modding. Both of these generally lead to the post in question hitting +4 or +5.
        • The French bashing bothered me until I gradually started to realize that it's completely justified. Just look at how they handled the riots in Paris, and how they're ready to fire upon IDF forces but apparently won't do anything about Hezbollah (as far as I know).
        • When was Iraq supposed to be 'fun'? It was necessary, not fun (necessary, both in that it was mandated by a UN resolution and that Iraq had spent quite long enough under Saddam). Considering Iraq just held its first free election, I think it is safe to say that the United States' actions have had some good come of them. As opposed to France, which was content to supply Iraq with weapons in exchange for oil. Talk about no blood for oil, eh?
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        The UN actually works. Remember the Korean War?

        The UN acted during the Korean War because the Soviet Union didn't show up to vote. Hardly a ringing endorsement.
      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        by Ironsides ( 739422 )
        Remeber Sudan/Darfur?
        Tianement Square?

        The Korean War was just about the last time the UN had a backbone.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          "Remeber Sudan/Darfur? Serbiea/Kosovo? Bosnia? Tianement Square? Tibet? Rwanda?" The UN is not on Mars, nor in heaven; it's effectives is helped or hindered by how much nation-states want to contribute. Furthermore, the UN traditionally has had a mandate not to intefere in nations because of national sovereighty.
          • by Aglassis ( 10161 )
            Nice trying to shift the blame. It is the *job* of the UN to get member states involved--not the other way around (like it has been for the last 50 years). An international association that fails to get its members to work has failed as an organization--not just as failures of individual members.

            If the UN cannot get any member states to contribute then a new organization is needed to do the job. In my opinion, the UN should be dissolved and a modified NATO should do the work (admitting a couple of new op
      • by Shihar ( 153932 )

        The UN actually works. Remember the Korean War?

        The UN getting into the Korean war was a pure accident. The US put forward a bill to get the UN involved. The USSR SHOULD have vetoed it. They didn't veto the bill because they had just walked out for the day in protest of something or another. As a result, Russia was not there to throw down a veto. If the USSR had just stayed in their seats, instead of scores of American military with a few UN logos slapped around and a handful of allies, it would have been scores of American military without any UN

      • So they're going to send us a letter? "We have taken over your interwebs!" Signed, U.N. (Useless Ninnies)
      • by Monsuco ( 998964 )

        The UN actually works.

        Just like the League of Nations worked? Or the international court worked? The UN has lasted longer and has been a bit more active than the last two were, but it still is developing the "not my problem" mentality that allowed for Germany to arm the hell out of themselves before WWII and for all nations to do so before WWI. The UN is similar to it's predecessors in that it waste money on committees and threats of light economic punishment and appeasment that it will allow for a third w

      • by N1EY ( 817702 )
        I disagree. The ITU is a conference of individual regulatory agencies of various governments. It has been ineffectual of assessing the value of broadcasting. They have allowed broadcasters to park all over medium wave and shortwave. Do we really need all of these things spread all over the place? It has allowed too much broadcasting to occur. It has no ability to enforce proper spectrum plans as developed. Pirates operate in one country and effect users in another country with no enforcement availabl
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They have demonstrated time and time again (e.g. Oil-for-Food campaign)

      That's a really bad example. Oil-for-food was a fine plan, it was particular UN member nations (including the USA []) that undermined it.

      they are incompetent

      Ever made an international phone-call? Telecommunications is one area that the UN does well in and corporations do poorly in. The ITU, being discussed here, is the worlds oldest international organisation. Meanwhile, telephone operators in the USA had to be forced into gua

      • Agreed. The US only started to complain that the UN was ineffective (and cited Oil for Food constantly) when it didn't rubber-stamp the Iraq war. IN that case, the UN Weapons Inspectors were essentially proven right-- there were no WMD's in Iraq. In regards to oil for food, there is no substantiated evidence that anything corrupt has happened: Chalabi was the only one to raise specific charges (and we know how reliable he is.) What Annan's son did is his personal business, and there is no evidence to sugges
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Lars T. ( 470328 )

      The UN needs to have no control over the Internet. They have demonstrated time and time again (e.g. Oil-for-Food campaign) that they are incompetent with managing programs.

      If TLD's are such an issue, let them have their own DNS system. No one is forcing anyone to use ICANN or even IANA.
      You are right, the Internet should be in the hands of those who abused the Oil-for-Food program the most - Americans.
    • I guess Oil-for-food cancels out the successes of the UNDP, CSD, UNESCO, WHO, FAO, IBRD, IDA, IFC, MIGA, ICSID, IFAD, and UNICEF, doesn't it?
  • um (Score:1, Funny)

    I for one welcome our new ICANN overlords.
  • Does this mean we will have a walled network where it takes cash to get in, and no one is anonymous?
    • This isn't much of a response to the previous post, but I didn't want to start a thread with the same title...

      The ITU has way too many things on its agenda [] to do a good job improving security in any area. Consider the ICANN, whose focus on Internet addresses is rather one-dimensional. IMO, it isn't even clear that ICANN does enough for security and efficiency. For example, every time the ICANN releases a new domain extension, the majority of memorable names get taken up almost immediately by domain squ

  • Good to see.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by madsheep ( 984404 )
    It's good to see the U.N. has just outright came out and see it doesn't see a need for them to run this. I think Security is a bigger issue, although I do not exactly have any idea on what they are working or doing to secure anything. A large number of countries seem to look at anything associated with the U.S. as a talking point for change. There's not a whole long wrong with ICANN doing what it does right now as far as I can see. People just like to complain and try and get a change just so they can o
  • DNS and IP space allication != "The Internet".
  • "Union says that he does not plan to take over governance of the internet and leave it up to groups like ICANN."

    I mean I know what they want to say, but this sentence still doesn't mkae any sense to me. Shouldn't it be "Union says that he plans to leave it up to groups like ICANN and not take over governance of the internet."

    As much as I dislike the government most of the time. I have no complaints on how the DNS allocation is done...
  • Chinese Mandate (Score:5, Interesting)

    by descentintomaelstrom ( 1050760 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @01:22PM (#17592410)
    Actually, if the UN were to follow its own Human Rights Declaration, it clearly states in Article 19: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." I would suppose that this means freedom from censorship on the internet. The UN has been constantly ignoring its own mandates for the protection of Human rights becuase its councils concering Human rights are consistently run by the countries who violate those rights. Even right now, China is a member of the Human Rights Council. The UN cannot function under the weight of its own political correctness and the weight of its member states violating its own declarations.
    • That's not political correctness, it just has its hands tied by large, powerful nations with veto powers.
    • Even right now, China is a member of the Human Rights Council. The UN cannot function under the weight of its own political correctness and the weight of its member states violating its own declarations.

      The de facto standard for human rights these days is worse than China. If some small country is oppressing freedom of speech or imprisoning political dissidents, the UN has to compare it with China's behavior before condemning it. Any declaration that would apply equally to China would be completely unenforc
    • The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights [] is essentially a useless document because of clause 29 and 30:

      Article 29:

      (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.

      (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of

    • Virtually every country besides China restricts speech. In the United States, it is illegal to advertise a candidate 30 days before a federal election. In most European countries, it is illegal to say something that "promotes hate". In Canada, all films need to be approved by the government.

      When we complain about China, we aren't complaining about censorship... we are complaining about censorship that doesn't appeal to Western esthetics. Virtually all countries censor, though. The west, being hipcrites, jus
      • I don't think so. Censorship of publications and internet postings by China is quite simply quantitatively greater censorship than the restriction on advertising political candidates 30 days prior to an election in the United States. The number of situations in which China can censor is greater than that number in the USA, and the number of expressions actually censored is greater in China than the USA.

        It's not a culture issue; China really does censor more than the United States. You can quibble about v
  • by j00r0m4nc3r ( 959816 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @01:50PM (#17592764)
    They can have my tubes when they pry them from my cold dead hands.
  • I live in Taiwan. Screw the UN.
  • by voss ( 52565 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @02:15PM (#17593086)
    With no global tax and no global army, the UN lacks the money and the power
    to rule the internet.

    Any power the UN has is because the world powers use it to provide the cover of international law
    to protect their interests. Of course this is significant because when world powers want to do something
    they must compromise to get UN backing. The absence of UN backing means additional political costs for
    any nation that acts without UN backing.
  • Gee, that's magnanimous of the nice guys at the UN, not to take over something that was invented by the US military using US tax dollars, that they do not own, and that they have no authority to take over. How sweet and thoughtful of those kind corrupted windbags.

    But wouldn't it be neat if they DID take over the internet? Iran could head the committee that censors all web content (with Saudia Arabia, Sudan, and China making up the rest of the panel), and Nigeria could handle internet security!
  • and no way. I wouldnt see a single byte traveling on the internet be subject to a governing body where these opressive, mafia (in case of russia) and medieval (you know which) countries have a say in. Internet thrived with what was governing it up to date, and from now on i would like to see it thrive - so let it be as it is now.
  • Just imagine the scandals they could perpetrate if they decided they were going to take it over?
  • Breaking News: Fox Official Says Foxes Not Taking Over Henhouse.
  • I'm not sure I understand how people get away with thinking the DNS root servers comprise "THE INTERNETS". It's pretty trivial to configure most OSes to use any DNS resolution server you want, that resolves any domains you want. There are plenty of alternative roots out there that do just that. They even defer to the existing ICANN roots in most cases.

    So why is it that all the press I hear - and most importantly, the political leaders they listen to - acts like they're completely unaware of this flexibility
  • I would just like everyone to know that I'm NOT going to take over the United States. Please rest assured that you have nothing to worry about despite the fact that I'm clearly in the perfect position to do so even though I have no supporters, military, or finances. And please, no matter how many times you all welcome me as your new overload, I don't feel I'm properly qualified for such a position.
    • I for one, welcome our new unqualified overlord on the condition that he's slightly less unqualified than our last one.
  • In my opinion the single most important clause in the United States Constitution is not the First Amendment nor the Second nor the 14th. It is Article IV, section 4, clause 1:

    The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government,...

    In order for any state in the United States to be a member of the United States, it must establish a constitution and elections within the borders of that State. It's why every state in the United States has an elected governor, and not

  • The UN couldn't take over the internet even if it wanted to. They could CLAIM control, but thats right up there with a former US VPs claim that he invented it. Governments around the world have been trying to control the net for years. It has failed every single time. The beauty of the net is thats its completely free form outside influence. Besides, the UN's a paper tiger anyway. They have no enforcement ability whatsoever.
  • ...there also is no bill in congress to stop internet radio and outsourcing does not take away jobs in the US. Now get back to watching TV and obeying the government you chattle!

Where it is a duty to worship the sun it is pretty sure to be a crime to examine the laws of heat. -- Christopher Morley