US Gov't Still Wants More Control Over ICANN

from the not-cool dept

It’s really amazing how tone deaf the Obama administration can be on certain issues. For years, foreign countries have accused the US of having too much control over the internet via ICANN. ICANN, of course, was set up to manage a key part of the internet (and to make it a bit more formal than the old process of Jon Postel keeping things going) as a quasi-private operation that just happened to sorta, kinda be connected to the Commerce Dept. This connection to the Commerce Department concerned some, and ICANN has always striven to show itself as independent. And yet, during this time many countries have suggested that ICANN’s role be moved to the UN, or some other international body. So it seems bizarre that the Obama administration is now trying to gain more control over ICANN. How can those involved not recognize the inevitable backlash from other countries? Yes, other countries claim they’re concerned as well, but any move that gives the US more of a say is going to go over badly.

The real issue here is that governments still seem to think that there’s a way to treat the internet as subordinate to various country governments. I’m beginning to think that’s not true at all (despite a few attempts to assert such control). For years there have certainly been plenty of jurisdictional questions raised by the internet, but at some point people are going to realize that perhaps the internet doesn’t neatly qualify under the rules of a particular country, but is itself a separate space. Resisting that, and having governments trying to gain more control over the internet, is only going to backfire.

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Companies: icann

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Comments on “US Gov't Still Wants More Control Over ICANN”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The Internet isn't fairy land.

“The Internet IS a subordinate of various governments”

Sorry, no. Controlling the Internet is the same as controlling a collective global human mind.

Think about it: the Internet is a communication medium where millions of people pour out their thoughts and feelings EVERY SECOND. It is actually a global human mind if you think about it. NOBODY can control that. They can try to control the infrastructure, but now that the people had a taste of intellectual freedom, they’ll oppose the restrictions.

Another internet would rise from the bloated corpse that is the government controlled internet. The infrastructure is already partially set up: in my city alone, the wireless (we-fi) coverage is pretty dense. Building an Internet here would not be particularly hard. Yes, it would be hella slow, but it would be completely distributed and out of control.

Something people have failed to understand is this: the internet is wild and uncontrolled because WE, the humans, are wild and uncontrolled. All of the good stuff and bad stuff on the internet mirrors the humans behavior. We can be good and bad. The only way to destroy the bad stuff on the internet is to destroy the bad people that created it. Oh sure, you can try to destroy it on the internet, but that is like trying to repress a memory: it’ll just come back to haunt you later on.

So no, the Internet is not a fairy land. But pretending that you can control it is more ridiculous than believing in Santa Claus. Stick to eliminating the REAL problems in the REAL world, and they will disappear from the Internet.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: The Internet isn't fairy land.

Fantasy. There is nothing uncontrollable about the Internet, unless you define control as 100%.

Every day, child porn uploaders get arrested on P2P. P2P file sharers are as easy to trace as shooting fish in a barrel.

Websites are hosted on physical servers in physical countries.

And if you want your “wefi” based neighbor-neighbor internet, good luck. With all of the government, IP industries, and telecoms all against you, it’s not going to get off the grounds.

Anarchists like yourself are the minority, not the norm.

Spaceboy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: The Internet isn't fairy land.

Sorry, but you are wrong. You know very little actually.

Child porn uploaders are arrested, but not all of them. Only the dumb ones. And no amount of government control or hardware will ever prevent someone from uploading child porn.

Websites are hosted on physical servers. You got that right. But those servers are based all over the world and some are even mirrored in different countries. If a website is taken down what prevents it from going back up? Nothing.

WeFi based Internet? You mean local wifi? That’s easy too. Just geta T1 line and share it with off-the-shelf equipment. Easy.

And unfortunatley, idiot AC’s like you are the norm, and that’s really unfortunate.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The Internet isn't fairy land.

Child porn uploaders are arrested, but not all of them. Only the dumb ones. And no amount of government control or hardware will ever prevent someone from uploading child porn.

Exactly. This is the same concept that underlies all law enforcement.

Yet we still put child porn uploaders in jail every day. Just like we put common thieves in jail, scammers, rapists, counterfeiters, etc.

No one is expecting to eradicate those crimes. That’s not the goal.

And the more criminals migrate to decentralized systems like Tor, the more they guarantee law enforcement pressure will migrate there as well.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 The Internet isn't fairy land.

The thing is, the more they push for going after filesharers, pedos, whathaveyou.
The more common encryption becomes, it’s at a point where we have to ask ourselves if it’s actually worth it to keep going, because with encryption becoming the norm intelligence work becomes vastly more difficult.

So yes, there is a point where being overzealous in litigation will actually have negative consequences.

There is a decentralized domain system in the works now, wich will not be under any countrys legal domain, and this is a direct consequence of ICANN beeing controlled.
The question is, is that really a good thing ? it WILL happen if the pressure keeps up on ICANN.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: The Internet isn't fairy land.

The Internet IS a subordinate of various governments, as long as those who operate its infrastructure exist under the jurisdiction of various governments.

This is exactly why many people want gTLD’s to be under the jurisdiction of the U.N., or some other non-local entity.

This move couldn’t have come at a worse time. This, combined with the seizure of Rojadirecta (and others, if ICE isn’t stopped), virtually guarantees that the U.S. tech industry will lose a huge amount of business. Why would any country want to give a foreign power the ability to shut down websites that are perfectly legal under their own laws?

It’s like the U.S. government is determined to destroy the tech industry. That’s especially odd since it’s the only part of our economy that’s growing rapidly. Not anymore, I guess.

abc gum says:

Almost all politicians across the globe want more power, this fact seems to be human nature no matter what the form of government or political affiliation. The rationalization of these needs becomes rather humorous at times but in the end, if allowed, results in no good. There needs to be better checks and balances, it seems that the ones we have now are too easily overcome.

Anonymous Coward says:

I can well understand why China might be a bit miffed at the current makeup of the ICANN Board of Directors. While the board members are scattered all over the world, I seems likely it is not altogether happy that the Chinese member is from Taiwan, and not the mainland.

Given the choice between the current board and one run by the UN or some other international organization, I will take the current board every time. Ever try to get the UN do anything besides garner parking tickets in NYC, which they promptly ignore by hiding behind diplomatic immunity?

FuzzyDuck says:

Re: Re: Only 1 thing worse that US control

Because the UN is a totally corrupt organization that is not accountable to anyone and has no democratic basis whatsoever. I for one would not rejoice to see countries like China wield power over the domain name system and the Internet via the UN.

If we are going to get an alternative to US control, then at least let it be something that is better not worse.

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