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U.S. Aims To Give Up Control Over Internet Administration 279

Posted by timothy
from the at-long-last dept.
schwit1 writes with this excerpt from the Washington Post: "U.S. officials announced plans Friday to relinquish federal government control over the administration of the Internet, a move likely to please international critics but alarm some business leaders and others who rely on smooth functioning of the Web.

Pressure to let go of the final vestiges of U.S. authority over the system of Web addresses and domain names that organize the Internet has been building for more than a decade and was supercharged by the backlash to revelations about National Security Agency surveillance last year."
Reader Midnight_Falcon points out this press release on the move from Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
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U.S. Aims To Give Up Control Over Internet Administration

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  • by Midnight_Falcon (2432802) on Friday March 14, 2014 @07:58PM (#46488617)
    Sixteen years after Jon Postel attempted to bring DNS root zone control authority under IANA, finally, the dream of internationalization of the root DNS/internet infrastructure is becoming a reality. A moment of silence please, for Jon Postel, IANA.

    This carries big implications in NSA's spying/QUANTUM program, which use U.S. control of the DNS system to exploit systems.

  • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki@gmai l . c om> on Friday March 14, 2014 @08:04PM (#46488659) Homepage

    As much as I dislike US policy, I'm betting that there will be a awesome push for the UN to take control and everyone will quickly be beating their heads against the wall over it. Well, I'm sure everyone is going to enjoy the new age of super-censorship in order to avoid offending *insert groups* feelings.

  • by noshellswill (598066) on Friday March 14, 2014 @08:11PM (#46488735)
    Fool.
  • by Guspaz (556486) on Friday March 14, 2014 @08:25PM (#46488811)

    The only thing that makes ICANN relevant is that they control the root zone that everybody uses. These days, if a few of the larger tech companies (Microsoft/Google/Mozilla/Apple) got together and decided to start their own DNS root zone, ICANN would become irrelevant rather quickly (since those companies control the browsers and mail clients everybody uses, and can do their own DNS lookups).

    I'm not saying that would be a good thing, just that I find it interesting that ICANN is seen as being "in charge" as if they have regulatory authority when in reality they only have a say because people use their root zone by convention.

  • by fluffy99 (870997) on Friday March 14, 2014 @08:28PM (#46488829)

    Sixteen years after Jon Postel attempted to bring DNS root zone control authority under IANA, finally, the dream of internationalization of the root DNS/internet infrastructure is becoming a reality. A moment of silence please, for Jon Postel, IANA.

    This carries big implications in NSA's spying/QUANTUM program, which use U.S. control of the DNS system to exploit systems.

    Really? Tampering with the DNS root servers is something that everyone would notice. It's not something NSA would be likely to start tampering with. Manipulating DNS at local levels perhaps, but certainly not at the root.

    I'm more concerned about US Govt manipulation of DNS at the behest of corporations for copyright enforcement by killing websites. We've already seen that happen

  • by GPS Pilot (3683) on Friday March 14, 2014 @08:36PM (#46488863)

    Developing the technologies and protocols of the internet was done at the expense of U.S. taxpayers by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Similarly, the Panama Canal was built at the expense of U.S. taxpayers for its great strategic value.

    In 1977, President Carter signed a treaty giving up U.S. control, and today China has a great deal of control over this asset:
    http://themengesproject.blogsp... [blogspot.com]

    What strategic asset will the U.S. give up control over next... the Global Positioning System, perhaps?

  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Friday March 14, 2014 @08:45PM (#46488911)

    LOL. Like Panama has any ability to withstand a US military adventure. Nor does China have any ability to project force into Panama.

    And no, the US is not giving up control over the internet. Fundamentally the internet infrastructure is controlled by the political bodies governing the countries it resides in. The US does not, and never did have control of the internet outside of the US.

  • by MrBigInThePants (624986) on Friday March 14, 2014 @09:01PM (#46488977)
    You sure can route through it. ;)
  • Re:Hmm.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 14, 2014 @09:17PM (#46489051)

    I do. Very worried. If somebody could guarantee that control would remain in some sort of friendly consortium of western democracies, fine. But the reality is that there are a lot worse places control could end up than USA.

  • Be careful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Friday March 14, 2014 @09:18PM (#46489055)
    While the US has been beating the internet like a redheaded stepchild it must not fall into the hands of an organization like the UN. Suddenly the internet will be whored out for every little pet project. Without a doubt suddenly the priorities of managing the internet will have nothing to do with the smooth flow of data from A to B but will reflect whatever whim or fancy that pops into the collective mind of the UN combined with whatever various countries can vote buy to get.

    So if China wants to block something then they will buy a pile of votes from the Caribbean or Africa and suddenly 10,000 site vanish. Or if you criticize the UN you site will be taken down for 80 different reasons.

    But the worst part is that the UN might be the most sclerotic organization running these days, (short of Sears) so any critical changes that need be done simply will end up in committee until it is way too late.

    Plus the UN is a firm believer in "Real Politic" so they will cave in to every NSA type out there as opposed to fighting them tooth and nail. But don't worry they will publish papers as to how they are supporting internet freedom.

    So if you want Russia, Bahrain, China, and even North Korea having a vote on the internet then putting it in a place where the UN will grab it is how that can happen.

    A better idea would be to hand the internet over to a collation of countries that have a decades long history of good government, low corruption, low nationalism, and non-interference,: So I am thinking Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Austria, Canada, Austria, and of course Switzerland. You will notice that I am leaving out countries like France, Britain, Spain, Italy, the rest of Asia, all of Africa, and all of Eastern Europe. Quite simply it would be a disaster to give these countries any say in one of the most important technologies on earth. And if any of the left out countries wanted to leave the internet I doubt that anyone would notice.
  • by LynnwoodRooster (966895) on Friday March 14, 2014 @09:21PM (#46489065) Journal
    Imagine you have a website called "AllahIsFalse.com". Now, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, and many other Muslim countries may very well block that domain; however, with a wonderful UN-controlled Internet, some international bureaucrats sitting in New York can now decide that your website is actually a hate-site, and thus turn you off around the entire world. Since, after all, some people in some other countries - who have bureaucrats sitting in New York - don't like what you have, and we want to all get along...
  • by MatthiasF (1853064) on Friday March 14, 2014 @09:29PM (#46489119)
    No, it really doesn't. The NSA used Man-in-the-middle attacks using DNS, meaning they slid in well BELOW the root servers, not using root themselves.

    Moving the root servers to a neutral 3rd party does nothing to stop spying by any nation, much less the US.

    But hopefully it will mean they will be less a target by hackers and national cyber-warfare campaigns.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 14, 2014 @09:31PM (#46489139)

    The notion that giving Saudi Arabia an equal footing here as the US, is bone chilling. Its sort of well known that a lot of countries out there have no concept whatsoever of free speech. They burn christian churches down in Saudi Arabia and so on. This is a really bad idea.

    This is exactly why international phone calls are impossible and the telephony system is so broken... oh, wait.

    The ITU is controlled by the UN and the phone system works just fine. Why do you think Saudi Arabia will be given unilateral control of the Internet? You may as well claim that negotiating trade agreements with China will force the US to become a communist state.

  • Re:Hmm.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Friday March 14, 2014 @09:46PM (#46489217)

    The reason I prefer it remain under US control is because the internet is almost pure speech, and the US, in spite of all of its flaws, is perhaps THE biggest protector of free speech. I'm a bit concerned that some countries (even some traditionally free countries such as the UK) won't protect free speech as well as the US does. For example, it is already easy enough in Europe to simply label something as hate speech in order to have it censored. The UK already has filters for the pirate bay and pornography.

    Presently in the US, there are no official filters for anything. Yes, Hollywood is trying its damnedest to change that, but so far they are failing quite spectacularly in the US (whereas they've succeeded elsewhere.) It might become easier for them to succeed with an international body.

    Since IANA regulates IP address assignment, they could effectively establish filters that apply globally. The NSA is the "rest of the world"'s (by that I mean Europe, who tends to refer to themselves as "the rest of the world" quite often) best argument against the US having the keys to IANA, but the NSA has no need for that. Not a single thing they have ever done, or probably will ever do, has required IANA to change any of its rules in their favor. Even give IANA control to China if you'd like, and the NSA will still be able to do everything it does. Pleas against the NSA by foreign governments for non-US governance of IANA are just preying on those who have no fucking clue about how the internet actually works, but think they should have a say in how it is run anyways.

  • Re:Hmm.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HiThere (15173) <charleshixsn&earthlink,net> on Friday March 14, 2014 @10:05PM (#46489295)

    He didn't say it was doing a good job, he said he couldn't see a better alternative. And you didn't propose one either.

  • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Friday March 14, 2014 @10:09PM (#46489313) Homepage

    "This carries big implications in NSA's spying/QUANTUM program"

    Oh, I totally agree. When the US no longer controls it they can exhert pressure to those that do, and then poin the finger elsewhere since they can say "But we don't control it anymore! We can't be held responsible!" Anybody who thinks the US won't control what they want through black-ops activities is an utter fool if they have been paying attention to any of this.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 14, 2014 @10:18PM (#46489359)

    Imagine you have a website called "MegaUpload.com". With a wonderful US-controlled Internet, some businessman in Hollywood can now decide that your website is actually a copyright infringing site, and thus turn you off around the entire world. Since, after all, some people in the US - who have bureaucrats sitting in Washington - don't like what you have, and we want to all get along...

    Oh, but under US control they also get dozens of heavily armed police to raid your house.

    I'd rather have sites taken offline because they offended someone than because of pure greed.

  • Re:Hmm.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rich0 (548339) on Friday March 14, 2014 @10:35PM (#46489461) Homepage

    the US ... is perhaps THE biggest protector of free speech.

    How's the kool-aid taste?

    So, while I object strongly to government intrusion, and agree that the US is very big on IP-enforcement, I have to agree with the assertion that the US is one of the best jurisdictions from a free speech standpoint.

    So, if you're trying to run The Pirate Bay or Wikileaks, US control isn't so good.

    On the other hand, if you're just running a typical blog or news site that just posts opinions or journalism, and not movies or classified documents, then the US is about the best place to have your service hosted. You can post Hitler's Greatest Hits, Mohammed Is An Idiot, or McDonalds Makes You Fat to your heart's content. A few of those are likely to get you in trouble almost anywhere else, including in the EU. Some EU nations outright ban Nazi propaganda, and some have fairly strict libel laws.

    In the US if you start your blog with "This is all my opinion, but..." there is basically nothing that anybody can do to take it down and make it stay down. There is the whole Streisand Effect, but there are laws to help prevent even that.

    Actually, I'd consider the whole legal system probably the biggest problem with US control. Justice is for sale to a degree, but for fairly pure free-speech issues it is almost impossible to lose in a US court.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday March 14, 2014 @10:45PM (#46489509) Journal

    They burn christian churches down in Saudi Arabia and so on.

    We burn mosques and synagogues down in the USA.
    It happens more often than you probably know, because it rarely makes national news.

    The USA (as a whole) isn't a theocracy, but it's not for want of trying.
    At the local level in particular, the line between church and state can be very fuzzy.

  • Re:Hmm.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jmc23 (2353706) on Friday March 14, 2014 @11:08PM (#46489617) Journal
    So basically the right to free speech in the US is good as long as it's not against anything the US believes is important. How is that different than any other country? The kool-aid is just a different flavour, doesn't mean it's worse than what the US drinks.
  • Re:Hmm.... (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 14, 2014 @11:14PM (#46489651)

    You mean the same US that seizes domains without oversight?

  • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki@gmai l . c om> on Friday March 14, 2014 @11:44PM (#46489757) Homepage

    I'd rather have sites taken offline because they offended someone than because of pure greed.

    I'd would rather that neither happened. How about this, your post has offended my *insert fictitious argument about hurt feelings* as such I want you to pay me over it. And you can be it'll start happening.

  • by Etcetera (14711) on Friday March 14, 2014 @11:49PM (#46489783) Homepage

    The difference is that "AllahIsFalse" is political/opinion speech, while "MegaUpload" is engaging in commerce and/or barely free speech.

    Yes, Free Speech is Free Speech.... but political speech -- ie, "meta speech" -- is more deserving and in more need of free speech protections than your torrents are.

  • Re: Hmm.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by boolithium (1030728) on Saturday March 15, 2014 @12:40AM (#46489963)
    The greatest cowardice a free society can display is the desire to avoid debating ideas. Nazi propaganda must be beaten, not hidden. The best way to discredit an idiot is to hand him a microphone and let him speak.
  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Saturday March 15, 2014 @03:03AM (#46490307) Journal

    Nazi propaganda must be beaten, not hidden. The best way to discredit an idiot is to hand him a microphone and let him speak.

    Further, hiding it makes it impossible for later generations to recognize the very seductive ideas when they reappear, later, without the "NAZI" label on them.

    It's a classic example of the adage about being doomed to repeat history if you fail to learn from it. How can you learn from it if it's censored away?

  • Re:Hmm.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sirlark (1676276) on Saturday March 15, 2014 @06:24AM (#46490783)

    Iceland? They seem to have a much better track record than anyone else where internet regulation is concerned. Sure people try to get shit pushed through there, but they seem to have a high proportion of tech-savvy parliamentary members who shoot the unreasonable shit down.

    Honestly though, what we need is a multi national non-profit who are allowed to charge for their services, or receive funding (equal/roportional: needs more discussion) from all countries

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