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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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  • Hmm.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 14, 2014 @06:56PM (#46488605)

    I don't have much love for the US government, but I don't trust US corporations not at all. And there are a lot of foreign governments I don't trust to act in the best interests of the Internet. I am not sure how to feel about this.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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.

      • Re:Hmm.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Friday March 14, 2014 @08:46PM (#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.

      • "consortium of western democracies"

        Yeah, I would trust something like the Five Eyes to oversee the internets.

        Oh, wait - https://www.privacyinternation... [privacyinternational.org]

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The reason to let the US continue to be a steward of the the network they created and gave to the world:


      Gary Johnston: We're dicks! We're reckless, arrogant, stupid dicks. And the Film Actors Guild are pussies. And Kim Jong Il is an asshole. Pussies don't like dicks, because pussies get fucked by dicks. But dicks also fuck assholes: assholes that just want to shit on everything. Pussies may think they can deal with assholes their way. But the only thing that can fuck an asshole is a dick, with some balls. T

    • I am not sure how to feel about this.

      browsing the comments you seem to be in the minority...most of the posts on this article go a step further than you and **admit the dont' like it**

      it's funny to note how different commenters qualify their comment in support of the US government **controlling the internet**

      let's remember this moment...

      as soon as an article is posted about a **domestic issue** the trolls come out in droves....comment after comment....endless discussions between "libertarians" vocally oppos

    • They brought it on themselves. So perhaps people should vote for a better government.
  • by Midnight_Falcon (2432802) on Friday March 14, 2014 @06:58PM (#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.

    • They don't need to control DNS to do their dirty work.

    • by fluffy99 (870997) on Friday March 14, 2014 @07:28PM (#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

      • US activities re confiscating domain names has been laughably ineffective because it's limited to US controlled TLDs.

        • They could confiscate an entire country-code TLD, but the diplomatic fallout would be so severe as to rule that out in all but the most extreme case. Perhaps if a forign government were openly endorsing the infringing site while doing the national equivilent of mooning the US and singing 'We didn't sign the berne convention, it's all legal over here.'

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

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

      [Citation Needed]

    • by epyT-R (613989)

      No it doesn't. DNS has nothing to do with surveillance. Governments still think that they can censor sites by disabling name resolution. They are fools.

    • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Friday March 14, 2014 @09:09PM (#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 Mashiki (184564) <mashiki.gmail@com> on Friday March 14, 2014 @07:04PM (#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.

    • The NTIA wasn't arbiter of all internet content, and the way the internet is designed, nobody can be.

      NTIA administers the top level (.com, .uk, .tv) DNS.

      Censorship would be imposed on the traffic itself, at the ISP/carrier level, not by the dns root servers.

    • by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Friday March 14, 2014 @07:35PM (#46488859)

      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.

      • Saudi Arabia is nothing. Think Russia and China.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by epyT-R (613989)

          You may as well claim that negotiating trade agreements with China will force the US to become a communist state.

          Interesting that you say this.. We are dependent on china, and we are moving towards a heavily centralized state. Note this is not meant as correlation.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        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.

        I heard once about this thing called the crusades...

        Maybe we oughta just burn down all the churches

        • by Mashiki (184564)

          I heard once about this thing called the crusades...

          Maybe we oughta just burn down all the churches

          You realize that the crusades were a *reaction* to 400 years of muslim aggression against christians right? And that was after the wholescale slaughter of entire cities near the end of those said 400 years which finally broke the camels back as it were. I know it's cool to be anti-christian these days, but at least learn your basic history.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            You realize that the crusades were a *reaction* to 400 years of muslim aggression against christians right?

            Yeah. And their reaction was more of the same. I am not impressed.

            I know it's cool to be anti-christian these days, but at least learn your basic history.

            Get it right: I'm anti-religion.

            • by Mashiki (184564)

              Yeah. And their reaction was more of the same. I am not impressed.

              So you mean when someone is actively at war with you, you shouldn't do anything.

              Get it right: I'm anti-religion.

              That's nice, let the bigot flow through you...

              • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday March 14, 2014 @11:24PM (#46489925) Homepage Journal

                That's nice, let the bigot flow through you...

                I'm sure there's some religions I'm not against. I'm against, ironically, the extremely bigoted ones. Which includes Christianity, specifically. Christians believe themselves to be superior. Ironically, I feel that makes them inferior. Is it ironic both because of my sense of superiority (relative) or because it's the opposite of what they're trying to achieve? Sure. But then, if there is something that puts people below other people, it's treating people badly. And that is what people do when they think they're better than other people.

                I don't go scraping Jesus fish off of people's cars or anything. But some assface did scrape the Darwin fish off one of my cars gone by. And that, friend, is why I am anti-religion in a nutshell — that is, writ very small. There are good people who are also religious, even though their religion is doing harm. I suppose I'll do my best to hate the sin and not the sinner.

        • I have trouble seeing how the crusades are related to anything today. Except maybe for some people who use it for an excuse to do something they wanted to do anyway?
        • by x0ra (1249540)
          the middle east would be a better place if all holly area had just been burned to the ground and my inhabitable for human...
      • by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday March 14, 2014 @09:45PM (#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.

        • I find it amusing that the UK, which actually has an official state-sanctioned national church, has in practice more seperation than the US. Even though the US enshrines seperation in their constitution.

          I think it's a cultural difference. Religion here is a fairly private thing, while religion in the US is something to be proclaimed as loudly as possible.

  • I'm fairly certain that in asking this question that I'm just being a biased Californian-based US citizen, but aside from being better able to allow internet users to hide from spies, what other benefit will this action bestow? And actually will this actually allow internet users to better hide from spies? I thought the US is doing an alright job, except for the peeping that is - they should have done a better job at that... Anyhow, now to read the friendly article.
    • There's many, largely political issues this solves aside from the ease-of-exploitation for spying (simple DNS redirect to an attack IP for targeted computers) -- including the U.S's ability to use an internet "killswitch" disabling root DNS servers, and reducing the likelihood of a fragmentation of the DNS system as countries like Iran or Russia seek to create their own DNS system, giving them root control rather than the U.S. They could also arbitrarily decide to start blocking certain DNS entries etc an

  • by Guspaz (556486) on Friday March 14, 2014 @07:25PM (#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 Pinhedd (1661735)

      The root zone is one of the few things related to DNS administration that ICANN doesn't control. Root zone authority still sits with the US department of commerce

  • by GPS Pilot (3683) on Friday March 14, 2014 @07:36PM (#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 @07:45PM (#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.

      • Yeah, the US would kick their ass faster than we won in Vietnam. I mean against North Korea. I mean the last country we fought that wasn't dragging it's bleeding body out of a civil war. When was that, 1940?

  • Seriously - my background is mostly with v4. Doesn't v6 incorporate a better name resolution mechanism? I'd always assumed so, since it was going to vastly increase the amount of address space to be tabulated.
    • I don't need a link to LMGTFY, TYVM. Although after what I've learned in under thirty seconds, I do need a drink.
    • Nope. DNS operates at a level above IP. It will be almost entirely unaffected. Only thing to change is the addition of a new AAAA record type to store a v6 address. It'll make the allocation of IP addresses easier though, as there will be a lot more tolerance for inefficiency.

  • Now let's find a way to replace DNS with a decentralized system.
    • Re:Halfway there (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Saturday March 15, 2014 @02:38AM (#46490387)

      Can't be done. There's no way to resolve disputes - without some form of centralised management, there's no way to make sure [company].com goes to the company with brand recognition and not some fraudster. The only way to allocate addresses would be first-claim (Perhaps with a proof of work to keep someone from registering by the trillions), which is just too vulnerable to abuse. The resolution system could be decentralised, but not the management, unless you are willing to abandon human-readable addresses. Which defeats the purpose.

  • a move likely to please international critics but alarm some business leaders and others who rely on smooth functioning of the Web.

    So, because something isn't US led, it becomes inefficient? Give me a break...Or are you kidding me?

    • by LynnwoodRooster (966895) on Friday March 14, 2014 @08:21PM (#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 Anonymous Coward on Friday March 14, 2014 @09:18PM (#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.

        • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki.gmail@com> on Friday March 14, 2014 @10:44PM (#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 @10:49PM (#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.

          • by tlambert (566799)

            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.

            Technically, MegaUpload was political in the same way that MPAA donations to U.S. senatorial campaigns are political. It was an argument by implementation against a politically supported business model which would not still exist, were it not politically supported by things like the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. Otherwise, most of the content which is enforced against because of copyright would be off copyright already.

  • Be careful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Friday March 14, 2014 @08:18PM (#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.
  • That's maybe the biggest question here. The US hands over control of the internet. Ok. Fine. Sounds good on paper. But who gets control? And please don't say "nobody". Like it or not, certain things need to be policied by some entity. The two things that immediately spring into the mind are domain name control and IP address assignation. Pretty much anything where "globally unique" is a key feature will have to have some kind of controlling entity.

    And the very LAST thing I could possibly see as beneficial i

  • Yes, the US controls ICANN. I can think of a lot of organizations that'd handle it a LOT worse!

    The UN? Pfft. PLEASE. Probably the most spineless, useless organization extant (aside from various RIAA and MPAA type entities).
    The Federal Dictatorship of Bumfuckistan demands that all sites containing mentions of *INSERT HERE* be taken down! They infringe upon our national and religious beliefs and are an insult!
    *UN stops slurping cock for half a second* Okay!

    Could you imagine some jackass kleptocrats like

  • by jandersen (462034) on Saturday March 15, 2014 @02:55AM (#46490435)

    Every time this subject comes, there is howl from the Americans about "freedom", as if people on /. knew what it is. There are several reasons why this leaves me feeling a bit nauseated - let me just recount a couple:

    1. I am old enough to have lived through the Vietnam years. I have read about the McCarthy era, and I believe we have all seen the Iraq wars. I remember how America was one of the staunchest supporters of South Africa under apartheid etc etc. As far as I can see, freedom to American is mostly a matter of convenience; you guys seem all out for freedom and the right to free speech, when it doesn't really cost you much. Yes, I know - I'm being harsh, and probably too much so, and I shouldn't generalise, but Americans in particular need to shut up and think before spilling their guts about "freedom", just once in a while.

    2. Words like "freedom" and "censorship" are highly charged, and they are mostly abused as a cover-all and an excuse for why it is OK to be a filthy parasite on society. So, when you roll out "freedom" as your argument without qualification, it is 99% likely that it just means "I don't want to give up my ...." (substitute "porn" or whatever it is this time).

    3. There is no such thing as absolute or perfect freedom. There will always be rules and limitations, and most of them you don't even want to be free of, if you were to think about it. The best anybody can hope for is enough freedom to feel happy about your situation and your prospects; and that is not really all that much. You want to feel that you can speak openly without fear, and that you can choose to pursue your own happiness in the way you see fit. Most people don't really want to be free from social context, even if they say so - as the song says "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose".

    4. What you see as freedom may feel like slavery to another person. Take the stupid furore in Europe about whether muslim women should be allowed to wear a burqa in public; if you ask themselves, they actually want it in most cases, but no, no, they have to be forced to accept our kind of "freedom". If you don't see the flaws in that sort of logic, then I'm afraid there is no helping you.

    I am all in favour of allowing people freedom, and think it is best to avoid banning things in general, but true freedom starts with respect for others.

  • because as much as you can criticize, they are the best pick for an internationally recognized organization that does not have ulterior motives like private companies or even many NGOs.

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