USA urged to keep control of Web

Funny, I don’t remember the last time myself nor the rest of about 6 billion non-US citizens on this planet voted for any representative of the US govt. At least I did get to vote for someone who sent representatives to the UN.

Maybe the republicans should send some of their guys to give the UN lessons to curtail corruption…I hear Tom Delay’s schedule opened up lately.

And remember the UN is collective group that only makes decisions by consensus. Member nations, especially the most powerful ones, only have to conform to what they have agreed to conform to. Can you offer any UN laws that have affected abortion, birth control or gun control laws in the US?[/quote]

As I understand it, the internet as it is depends mainly on equipment located in the US. That is how it has developed and functioned. It is this situation that people want to change.

But giving the system to UN bureaucrats is not going to improve things. And slagging on specific politicians for alleged corruption is beside the point that the UN is corrupt and inefficient. I can only imagine that a UN internet committee with, say, Iranian and Chinese members alongside, say, Finns and Japanese – ruling by “consensus” – is not going to preserve the freedom that the internet presently enjoys.

The US has very extensive protections for unpopular speech. This includes political speech, as well as commercial “speech.” That’s one of the reason why it’s so hard for the US gov’t to control spam. My point about abortion, etc., is that bureaucracies can very easily make unpopular things illegal (look at some of the kooky rules made by EU bureaucrats, which carry the force of law). And who knows what they’ll decide to block from the internet, if they have the power. The system works well and should be left alone.

I agree. But it doesn’t really matter. You can try to censor the internet, but you will never be able to do it successfully.
The more an organisation controls something, the mopre the general populace will find a way around it which will lead to more private companies developing better technology to host things that big organisations don’t want you to see.

If you get what I’m trying to say.

Wow, BFM, is that true? Where did you see that reported? Can you send link? Just amazing chutzpah on Chicoms’ part![/quote]I can’t find a link (maybe I made it up ?), but I seem to remember China demanding .tw be changed to something like several years ago. Not really surprising. If it was put under the control of the UN no doubt China would do what they could to get it changed.

There seems to be a large amount of hyper-ventilation about this issue. All that is at stake here is the control of domain names (like for example ‘’). Currently, the body ultimately in charge of this is ICANN, who are answerable to the US government. Other countries now want to replace ICANN with a body which is answerable to the UN.

Why does this matter? Well, unless you have a particular interest in domain names, it doesn’t. For example, some of the things that could be affected are:

  • If someone registers a domain ‘’ and IBM want to sue them for defamation/copyright infringement then what law court should handle this claim?
  • How much do you pay for your domain registration? ICANN currently puts some bounds on what companies can charge for domain registration.
  • When Verisign (the company who manage all .com domains) implemented their ‘site finder’ service, it was ICANN’s job to decide if this was an abuse of their monopoly.
  • If you want to have a domain with e.g. Chinese characters in it (, how should that be handled?

Do you care about any of the above? If not, then the whole thing is a complete non-issue for you (unless of course you want to continue the ongoing US vs UN flame-fest).

Any change will not make it easier for China to censor the web (they’re already doing that pretty well), nor will it allow them to remove the ‘.tw’ domain (the list of country-coded top level domains is defined by a different body, IANA), nor will it mean that the internet stops working overnight.

FWIW, I believe that ICANN is a bloated non-transparent ineffective body who charge more money than is justifiable through their US-donated monopoly who deserve to be either replaced or heavily reformed. However, replacing them with a UN body will result in a different bloated non-tranparent ineffective body which costs too much.

Incidentally, the UN already ‘controls’ the worlds phone systems via the ITU

The sentiments expressed by David are pretty naive.

Bureaucracies and bureaucratic powers tend to extend themselves (you need to read a bit about the EU if you don’t believe this). Make no mistake: if the internet comes unter the control of the UN, it is going to change, and not for the better.

The system should stay as it is.

Again, we are talking about the system for domain name registration - not the internet. How do you imagine it will change for the worse? Or are you saying that the UN will take control of other international bodies, like the IANA, W3C, IETF etc. who manage other parts of the internet?

So, you support ICANN. What have ICANN done that you admire? I’m struggling to think of anything that they’ve done which has improved or advanced the internet. Their attempts to add new TLDs have been less than a great success, they’ve been remarkably slow to address internationalisation issues, they are less than open in their proceedings (to the point where one of thier directors had to get a court order before he was allowed to look at the finances!), their attempts to open up membership via ‘At large’ elections failed miserably, and their reaction to stuff like the ‘sitefinder’ controversy was pretty pathetic.

I’m searching for some reasoning behind your comment beyond “It’s the UN so it must be bad” …

And in news from Europe:

[quote]Netherlands to extradite Holocaust denier

26 October 2005


I say before a transfer is considered that a proposal should be drawn up detailing how the new governing body will be constituted, its procedures, powers, reporting structure, and limitations of power. Then, if the proposed system withstands criticism and scrutiny, the decision can be made to affect a transfer of authority.

What I’d hate to see is a decision to transfer authority followed by a decision making process that would end up being disagreeable, but powered by the hubris of UN proponents and anti-US sentimentality.

I don’t mind the US government losing oversight of the whole matter, but I wouldn’t want things to get worse.