Hands Off, World
You browse with your eyes, not with your governance.
I've carped before about the pesky persistence of the EU to get their hands into internet oversight. The argument goes something like this: "The internet is a global resource and not the domain (no pun intended) of any single nation. It's too important to be left to a single overseer."
On the contrary, I say it's too important to unleash the ills and inefficiencies of international bureaucracy on it.
Still, 100 countries are getting together this week to hash out a deal at the momentously named World Summit on the Information Society in Tunisia (which is apparently called Tunis now - apologies to Art Blakey).
It looks as though the compromise struck is little more than a placating gesture:
Negotiators from more than 100 countries agreed late Tuesday to leave the United States in charge of the Internet's addressing system, averting a U.S.-EU showdown at this week's U.N. technology summit.
U.S. officials said early Wednesday that instead of transferring management of the system to an international body such as the United Nations, an international forum would be created to address concerns. The forum, however, would have no binding authority.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Michael D. Gallagher, however, said the deal means the United States will leave day-to-day management to the private sector, through a quasi-independent organization called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN.
Okay, so functionally, it doesn't seem that much will change with this new accord. But this still a dunderheaded and potentially dangerous direction to be moving in. Set aside that it was predominantly American capital, information systems, and intellectual resources that gave rise to the internet (which of course is how U.S.-based organizations grew organically into the role of de facto overseers). From a strictly utilitarian, what's-best-for-the-future-of-the-internet perspective, it's senseless that there's such hue and cry to upturn a status quo that in fact serves phenomenally well.
All things considered, would you rather a hugely complex, vital system be managed by the private sector or government? By a concentrated body or a web of consortiums of far-flung parties? By the United States or... anyone else?
If you picked all the first answers, kudos. You're a logical, objective thinker who resides in the real world. If you picked some or all of the latter answers, you're probably reading this from the Brussels-Capital Region.
(Nothing against Brussels - I hear it's a lovely city with a rich heritage. It's also a good bet if you're looking for Carmen Sandiego.)
Not convinced that letting the international bureaucracy have its way with the web would befoul it beyond recognition? Try chewing through some of the 56 conference planning documents on the WSIS website.
Handcrafted by Flip on November 16, 2005 |
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