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Saturday, October 08, 2005
We recently covered the simmering discontent amongst the various governments for the US government's proposal to keep control of the root servers for the internet. The haughty stand taken by the US government forced me to endorse calls for multilateral control of the internet. Guardian now reports that the EU had decided to end the US government's unilateral control of the internet and put in place a new body that would now run this revolutionary communications medium. For the vast majority of people who use the internet, the only real concern is getting on it. But with the internet now essential to various countries' basic infrastructure - the question of who has control has become critical. And the unwelcome answer for many is that it is the US government. The US wanted to retain indefinite control of the internet's foundation - its "root servers", which act as the basic directory for the whole internet. As the ownership issue got nowhere - the EU took a bold step and proposed two stark changes: a new forum that would decide public policy, and a "cooperation model" comprising governments that would be in overall charge. I agree with the concerns raised by Milton Mueller that an overseeing council "could interfere with standards & could create complications in surveillance mechanisms. No doubt that the idea of the council appears vague, but fact remians these can be fixed over time. I think that the refusal of the US to budge only strengthened opposition(Clearly the US bungled – it had natural leadership to hold control – it could have retained this through multiple but different means) , and now the world's governments are expected to agree a deal to award themselves ultimate control. It will be officially raised at a UN summit of world leaders next month and, faced with international consensus, there is little the US government can do but acquiesce. The US may still be the best bet to hold control of the root servers - but it needs to invest in time and effrots to refine its approcah and take all others along -they have so far demonstrated fairness in running the system, but clearly the US needs to polish its approach in multilateral discussions.There are still dozens of unanswered questions but all the answers are pointing the same way: international governments deciding the internet's future. Clearly the internet will never be the same again.
Category : Internet |
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