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Saturday, October 08, 2005

U. S. to lose unilateral control of the Internet

The Internet, the brainchild born of the American military and scientific communities (previously known as ARPAnet), has grown beyond the control of its progenitors - and its country of origin. Or so, the world community argues. At the recent World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva, where the major countries met to discuss the future of the Internet, the U.S. received a rude awakening. Old U. S. allies comprising the European Union announced that the U.S. should no longer have unilateral control of the Internet.

Even as the U.S. ambassador argued for the retention of control by the Department of Commerce, which initially pushed for the expansion and globalization of the Internet and created a private company to run it (Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers or "Icann"), other countries, including Brazil, China, Cuba, Iran and several African states, insisted that the U.S. give up its control.

The meeting came to a standstill as either side refused to budge on the issue, prompting the EU to propose the following changes: a new forum that would decide public policy, and a "cooperation model" comprising governments that would be in overall charge. The world community back this proposal, leaving the U.S. alone in its protest. The issue will be raised officially at the the UN summit of world leaders.

This new direction brings with it many unanswered questions on issues such as who will monitor e-businesses as well as the protection of human rights. For instance, the Chinese government now curtails much of the content filtered to its sites. Experts fear governmental interference with standards for data transfer.

Although there are arguments to be made for both sides, in the end, the loss of control of the internet will surely signal a further erosion of the U.S. world power base. And, in the end, may trumpet the erosion of freedom for internet users everywhere.

Per The Guardian.

Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 10/08/2005 10:46:00 AM Permanent Link     | | Home


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