[NetBehaviour] US, UN, EU Battle for Control of the Net
marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Tue Oct 11 14:18:35 CEST 2005
*US, UN, EU Battle for Control of the Net*
The US government has deemed "unacceptable" a proposal from the European
Union that would put the Internet under United Nations control.
Currently, the core routing computers that run the Internet and house
its master directories are run by ICANN, a private organization that is
supervised by the US Department of Commerce.
Some countries argue that placing the Internet under international
management would better serve developing countries that are increasingly
relying on networked communication. The US counters that doing so could
make the Internet vulnerable to the whims of rogue countries such as
North Korea, or larger powers such as China that don't support
principles of free speech.
The matter of Internet control is an important one, as that control
implies substantial power. A body with such power (as the Commerce
Department has now) can easily shut down entire domains or filter out
certain content on a global level. As more people around the world come
to rely on Internet communications, online access will be increasingly
seen as a fundamental resource like water and energy. Individuals will
regard access as a human right; nations will consider it a strategic
asset. Denial of Internet access by one country to another could one day
even be considered grounds for international sanctions, embargoes and
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