Friday, September 30, 2005

EU wants shared control, UN wants total control of Internet

Internet: You can want this and that, but you ain't getting it. Last I checked the Internet was created, funded and seems to have grown pretty well under our control. It goes under "international law" and UN control will bring about tremendous censorship on top of what other countries are doing now. If they don't like it, go build your own.

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations' International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is ready to take over governance of the Internet from the United States., ITU head Yoshio Utsumi said on Friday. The United States has clashed with the European Union and much of the rest of the world over the future of the Internet. It currently manages the global information system through a partnership with California-based company ICANN. "We could do it if we were asked to," Utsumi told a news conference. The U.N. agency's experience in communications, its structure and its cooperation with private and public bodies made it best-placed to take on the role, he said. Washington has made clear it would oppose any such move despite widespread demands for changes in the current system. "We will not agree to the United Nations taking over management of the Internet," said David Gross, a U.S. State Department official attending a two-week conference preparing for a U.N. "Information Society Summit" in Tunisia in November. The United States, where the Department of Commerce oversees ICANN, says it would never take any action that would affect the working of the Internet. But countries like Iran say they fear Washington could pull the plug on them any time. The issue could sour the Tunis meeting from November 16-18. The summit aims to approve a plan for extending use of the Internet and other forms of advanced communications in order to help poorer countries achieve U.N. development goals by 2015. The EU says it is proposing a new "cooperative model" to run the Internet and the way addresses - or domain names -- are assigned that everyone could support. But Gross, speaking to reporters on Thursday, described the plan as a "shocking and profound change" of the EU's earlier stance that opened the way for control by governments -- some of whom already censor what their citizens can read on the Net. EU spokesman David Hendon described this as "misrepresentation." Although many EU nations were happy with what ICANN is doing, many countries "just cannot accept that the Americans have control of the Internet in their countries," he told Reuters, and this had to be recognised. The EU proposal would bring the Internet and ICANN under international law rather than U.S. law.

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