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.