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WSIS to Consider Internet Governance Under U.N. 308

penciling_in writes "The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) starting next week in Geneva is expected to attract more than 50 heads of state and 6,000 delegates who will address issues from the digital divide to Internet governance. It will be addressing the broad range of themes concerning the Information Society and adoption of a Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action, which reportedly includes a recommendation to place the governance of the Internet under the United Nations. In response to issues leading up to this event, CircleID has been running a number of articles including Karl Auerbach's piece, 'Will ICANN Reveal Its True Self To WSIS?' and an extensive Interview (Part I | Part II) by Geert Lovink with Milton Mueller, author of 'Ruling the Root', one of the first detailed investigations into the Internet domain name policies." There's a Reuters story on this conference.
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WSIS to Consider Internet Governance Under U.N.

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  • by bizcoach ( 640439 ) on Friday December 05, 2003 @01:02PM (#7639597) Homepage
    It'd be better to create an internet which is totally a p2p system and hence doesn't need anyone to be in charge of it.
    • May I direct you to Freenet []? Strictly speaking, people are "in charge" (the developers), but the whole principle is that pretty much anything goes on Freenet - it's designed to be perfectly anonymous (when coupled with the correct browser), so material posted on Freenet can't be forced off.
    • Going totally P2P would require a wire running from every house to every single other one in the world. It's impossible. For now we'll have to deal with mostly P2P. Centralized IP address control, but everything else is voluntary (you could start your own alternic if you didn't like the current root servers).
  • Bad idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by meta-monkey ( 321000 ) * on Friday December 05, 2003 @01:02PM (#7639603) Journal
    Bad news.

    I am completely against U.N. control of the Internet, because I believe it would lead to censorship. I believe the U.N. would use its power to deny domains to those critical of the U.N., or those who hold unpopular opinions in opposition to the U.N.

    Exhibit A is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights []. It all sounds pretty good. I think the particularly applicable Article to this case is #19:
    Article 19.
    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

    That sounds to me like one should be able to say whatever one wants over the Internet. i.e., to impart information and ideas through any media.

    Now kindly review Article 29, section 3:
    (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

    What exactly are the purposes and principles of the United Nations? If I were to try to register '' would they stop me? My right to free speech ends when I exercise that right contrary to the purposes of the U.N. The U.N. holds all kinds of conferences where they condemn racism and sexism. What if I wanted to create a website about the inferiority of a certain race or sex? Would they stop me? Sure, the opinions I express may be wrong, stupid, and unpopular, but popular opinions are those that don't need protecting.

    The U.N. will pry control of the Internet from my cold, dead DNS server.
    • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Friday December 05, 2003 @01:10PM (#7639685) Homepage Journal
      It would also force other nations to abide by the rest of the 'groups' concepts of morality.

      If country A, doesnt belive in, lets say nazi relics, and forbids them to be on their network, then the rest of the countries must also abide by that ruling, as it would be a ban 'net-wide..

      That is, if one controlling mulitnational entity was in control...
      • That's a very good argument against democracy.

        Of course, now that I've said that, I must be a TERRORIST!
      • Funny how people get so indignant when it's a "controlling multinational entity", but you seem happy with the status quo: one controlling national entity. Anyone in control, so long as it's the US, then?
        • by Jhon ( 241832 ) on Friday December 05, 2003 @01:43PM (#7640012) Homepage Journal
          Funny how people get so indignant when it's a "controlling multinational entity"
          Funny how people consider the UN a "controlling multinational entity". It sure has a history of being able to govern and "control", huh? It sure follows through with all it's security council resolutions, huh?

          Think about this. The way the UN is designed PREVENTS it from being able to do ANYTHING without unanimity. This was a problem for the US post revolution/pre constitution. The problem is if they hold a UN equivalent of a constitutional convention, any ability for this "multinational entity" to "control" would result in no nations signing the new charter.

          People need to realize what the UN is -- a failed pipe-dream of Roosevelt. It's nothing but a place for countries to "vent". Any effort to do ANYTHING can take decades if it happens at all. Especially with immediate threats (re Angola, Somalia, Congo, etc).
    • I don't have a problem with UN control of the Internet, as long as that control is severely limited in scope, and protections are put in place to avoid things like censorship. Basically, we'd need to start with a Constitution. Define the enumerated powers (international spam, international denial of service, etc), and then add in a bill of rights (no rule shall be made abridging the right of communication between a willing sender and a willing recipient, etc).
      • Re:Bad idea (Score:3, Insightful)

        by b-baggins ( 610215 )
        Constitution? Bill of Rights? Sounds like the United States to me. So, why not just leave it here?
        • Lots of countries have constituions and bills or rights.

          There are lots of reasons not to just leave it here. For one thing, a system of rules effecting a group of people should come from that entire group of people, not one single subgroup. Secondly, the United States Constitution isn't geared toward the internet.

        • Uhh, because most of the world doesn't live there? The US Constitution etc is only good (when upheld, hmm...) for Americans.

    • Re:Bad idea (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mgs1000 ( 583340 )
      So would every computer in the .tw domain be kicked off the internet? Because, according to the UN, those people are not important and don't belong.
    • What crap. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by l-ascorbic ( 200822 )
      This is about taking control of the internet (which transcends borders) away from the control of one country (the US, if you hadn't guessed) and putting it into the hands of a supranational organisation (the UN).

      Sure, the UN makes mistakes, and there are some bloopers in its treaties and resolutions, but I'd venture that none would really come close to the legal absurdities that have been coming out of the US in recent years. That said, the more important point is that the internet shouldn't be in the hand

      • It seems to me that all the real work was done in the US. I don't think the UN has a leg to stand on.
      • Re:What crap. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Friday December 05, 2003 @01:27PM (#7639863) Homepage Journal
        But in terms of the UN, not all nations are created (or in this case, represented) equally. It makes no particular sense to give control of the internet to the UN.

        The US has the lion's share of control over the internet because it was invented here and momentum's a bitch. But, even the "enemies" of the USA have IP addresses, their own TLDs, et cetera. It really doesn't look like we're abusing our position as a nation. Oh sure ICANN and Verisign have been falling down on the job of providing a resource but that's just related to being private companies - do you really think it would be better if they were part of some government, even a supposed world government?

        You're right, they should be in the hands of all of us. But I'm not convinced the UN should be in charge - of anything. To me, the UN is a forum.

        The current system may be broken, but I don't see any reason the UN would fix it. I think they'd likely break it worse. If you want to broker change in the way we network, I suggest you start working on a replacement for the internet which is completely decentralized. That way, we don't need anyone to manage it for us. You will need some good strong cryptography so that we can verify identities, rather than depending on IP address allocation which can change overnight. Then of course we will get into web-of-trust issues, but that's still a more robust way to handle identity verification than in current models. Giving the UN control of the internet does not solve the root problem which no revision of IP can resolve - the requirement for central management. THAT is the real problem. The internet cannot be free no matter who is in charge, if anyone is in charge.

      • Re:What crap. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Chibi Merrow ( 226057 ) <mrmerrow@moHORSE ... minus herbivore> on Friday December 05, 2003 @01:32PM (#7639902) Homepage Journal
        That said, the more important point is that the internet shouldn't be in the hands of any one government.

        Exactly. That's why it shouldn't be in the hands of the UN. Control of the Internet belongs to those who own/run the networks that comprise it. Any authority that they follow exists and has its authority solely because they voluntarily follow it. Should those in charge of the root servers and those in charge of address allocation become intolerable dictators or ineffective leaders, they will find themselves ignored by the individuals who run the 'Net.

        And that is the true beauty of the Internet; there is no governance. Things only work because people agree to make them work. Standards only exist because people agree to those standards. If some company decided they wanted to write a new protocol to replace TCP/IP that only their company's software could make use of, for instance, they would find their packets dropped at the first router they didn't own. Non-compliance of voluntary standards is seen by the Internet as damage and routed around. (See: Usenet Death Penalty [])

        This is how the Internet has been run in the past and should be run in the future: Those responsible for running and maintaining the networks should be the ones in charge of deciding how they are run.
        • Except that's not how it is at the moment. ICANN was set up by the US govt. Verisign (or NetSol then) was awarded its monopoly by the US govt. The US govt is the one who can decide to disband ICANN if they so wish.
          • But ICANN doesn't have control of handing out IP addresses and anyone can decide to use a competing DNS system other than ICANN's root servers if they find ICANN intolerable. IANA controls the IP addresses and they only do that via the good graces of the RIRs trusting them, and the RIRs only work because ISPs voluntarily listen to their allocation rules, etc... People voluntarily listen to ICANN (and ICANN's the first to admit they can't really enforce anything) because listening to them is only slightly le
          • And the point of the parent was that, if ICANN and Verisign were doing such a horrible job of administering the namespace, ICANN and Verisign would be ignored by those administering the cooperating networks. You don't HAVE to listen to ICANN, and neither does anyone else (except Verisign). Administrators CHOOSE to listen to ICANN because it is convenient for the interoperability of their networks to do so. The day that ceases to be the case, ICANN will be ignored like day old bagels....

      • The funny thing about all of this is there IS NO "internet", at least nothing that can be controlled centrally. All the US (well, ICANN) does is (AFAIK) doll out IP numbers, set country domain letters and resolve domain disputes. It can't tell the Frogs not to block NAZI crap, and it can't tell the Chineese to give its citizens unfiltered net access. For all intents and purposes it just maintains the root DNS server. If the UN want to "run" the internet there's nothing to stop them setting up their own
      • Re:What crap. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by meta-monkey ( 321000 ) * on Friday December 05, 2003 @02:13PM (#7640316) Journal
        You're either

        a) making the logical fallacy of the false choice, or
        b) putting words in my mouth.

        I never said the U.S. should be in control of the Internet. I said the U.N. should not be in control of the Internet. Just because the U.N. should not be in control, does not mean that the U.S. should, I made no statement as to whether or not the U.S. should control the Internet.

        While you obviously have reading comprehension problems, this statement of yours is truly laughable:'s about accepting that there are some things that affect all of us that use the internet, so they should be in the hands of all of us, not of one country.

        Great. So who's your elected representative in the United Nations, to whom you can complain if you don't like the way they run the Internet? Who is it? Oh...wait, you don't have elected representation in the U.N., do you? Right. None of us do, I keep forgetting. However, every petty dictatorship does have a seat in the U.N., so, essentially, Fidel Castro himself gets a vote equal to the entire democratic state of, say, Sweden. That's a great place to put control of the Internet. Then it'll truly be "in the hands of all of us," won't it?

    • It's a real shame that it has become so popular to bash the UN in the USA these days. The UN is a force for good in the world. Yes, it's got it's faults, and it is always going to be less efficient than acting unilaterally, but overall it is a very good thing.

      The frightening thing for me is to see how easily and quickly the thoughts and opinions of many in the public in the USA can be changed and manipulated so quickly and easily these days. It wasn't so long ago that the UN was seen as a good thing by mos
      • Re:Sad (Score:3, Interesting)

        by meta-monkey ( 321000 ) *
        I do not believe the United Nations is a force for good in the world, and I could argue this at length. I have held this opinion for a long time before the current administration came to power. However, the expression of my opinion that the U.N. is not a force for good is contrary to the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations [], article 1 section 4

        To be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.

        Therefore, if I were to make a website, in which I disagreed

        • While you have a point, I happen to believe that you're wrong. Article 29, section 3, which your argument rests on, says no more than that the right to free speech is not guaranteed to those using it against the purposes of the UN. And the self-described purpose of the UN is to promote peace and justice, not to perpetuate the UN.

          It seems to me, therefore, that Article 29, section 3, is intended to remove the free-speech protection from things like incitement to racial hatred - not from legitimate dissent
          • Re:Sad (Score:4, Insightful)

            by meta-monkey ( 321000 ) * on Friday December 05, 2003 @04:10PM (#7641444) Journal
            Fine then. Let's say I want to run a website that promotes racial hatred. That shouldn't be censored. It's a stupid opinion, and an unpopular one, but popular opinions don't need protection.

            Also, it all depends on your definition of "racial hatred." People's opinions on what consitutes "racial hatred" are very different. For example, what if I believe that programs such as Affirmative Action are wrong? I have heard "civil rights leaders" claim that opposition to programs which provide special benefits to minorities are "hateful." So if I create a web site in which I argue that Affirmative Action is immoral, because I don't think, say, who gets a job should be decided on the basis of the color of one's skin, and that is determined to be "hate speech," then I'm screwed.

            Would the U.N. actually shut down my web site? Maybe, maybe not. But why give them that power in the first place?
    • That was my first instinct, too, and I still believe it.

      I don't think any political body should manage the infrastructure of the internet, not even an international political body like the UN.

      I don't think any commercial organization should manage the internet unregulated, either.

      I think the current system works fine, it just requires better regulation.
    • I am completely against U.N. control of the Internet, because I believe it would lead to censorship.

      The UN's role should be very narrowly defined, such as delegating TLD's and supporting what was IANA's work. That's the only international part. We (soverign nations) can handle all the rest.
  • poop (Score:3, Funny)

    by webtre ( 717698 ) <> on Friday December 05, 2003 @01:02PM (#7639605) Homepage Journal
    ok people, nothing to see here, go back to ranting about SCO...
  • by GoofyBoy ( 44399 ) on Friday December 05, 2003 @01:03PM (#7639612) Journal

    Over 6000 people will agree on a large range of issues to submit on a recommendation to a group that may or may not do something about it because it may or may not have the power to act on it.

    Will anything actually come out of this?
    • Will anything actually come out of this?

      Just the event itself, a debate with approx. 6,000 delegates from around the world, is a worthwhile thing. I know that of late we've been bombarded by a lot of numbskulls trying to suggest that debate is pointless, and that we must act, but we must realise that it is worthless acting if the actors do not yet know why they are acting, what for, how, nor even if their actions are correct.

      Basically, this meeting will being a good opportunity for states to share ideas,
  • by illuminata ( 668963 ) on Friday December 05, 2003 @01:05PM (#7639626) Journal
    I know, this is pretty unheard of to most politician types, but why don't they just leave the internet alone? They could just allow each country's existing laws to take care of things that might be illegal rather than create new ones that just muddy up the legal system.

    I know, they would like to act as if they're doing something. But, I personally don't want some world governing body controlling what goes down on the internet. If that doesn't scare you I don't know what does. Can't governments of any type just keep their hands off?
    • by symbolic ( 11752 )
      I know, they would like to act as if they're doing something.

      It's not's that people in government, especially those who are in a position to create new points of control and influence, are likely to do pricisely that. The internet is the next frontier that someone needs to control. It's just human nature. Laws, or legal constructs like the U.S. Constitution protect us from ourselves in that regard.

      I think it will be most interesting to see: a) just how far they take this "world cooperation" stu
    • No, they can't. Even our government, which has a document specifically limiting its powers is constantly trying to find ways around it to grab more and more power and control more and more of your life. The current method in our country is judicial dictatorship.

      FDR understood the potentials of judicial dictatorship, which is why he tried to stack the supreme court by upping its number to 15 judges.

      The current rabid fight against Constitutionalists as Judicial nominees (if you think it's for any other reas
    • They could just allow each country's existing laws to take care of things that might be illegal rather than create new ones that just muddy up the legal system.

      That's not working, and it never will. The internet is international, and one country's laws are rarely able to reach into another country.

      But, I personally don't want some world governing body controlling what goes down on the internet.

      I don't want anyone controlling what goes down on the internet. Unfortunately, that's impossible. Someon

  • by Hayzeus ( 596826 ) on Friday December 05, 2003 @01:06PM (#7639645) Homepage
    I think the kinds of consensus required to get this thing off the ground will almost certaily elude the UN. Too many major players (the US especially, but others as well ) will be unwilling to cede even the tiny amount of sovereignty required to make this work.

    Expect this initiative to languish in various committees until the end of time...

  • New World Order? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rveety ( 223650 ) on Friday December 05, 2003 @01:07PM (#7639654) Homepage
    The New World Order conspiracy theory states the UN is an evil organization who's soul purpose is total world domination and eradication of freedom.

  • If the UN decided to take control of ICANN, do they really have the authority to do it? How can they do it?
    • well. as un is a collaboration/union of different nations, it would be the nations deciding that they're going to put another organization to do what ICANN does.

      so yes.. if they should so decide for some reason in unity(and that is the tricky part) then they damn well have the authority over anything they wish.
      • if they should so decide for some reason in unity then they damn well have the authority over anything they wish.

        Actually, no they don't. The authority of the UN, which is not a sovereign organization, is provided for by the agreement of sovereign nations through accession to the UN charter and various later multinational treaties and multilateral agreements. The UN has NO authority beyond what is granted to it by those agreements, regardless of how many countries think it would be a swell idea to do

  • Oh Great! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ken@WearableTech ( 107340 ) <> on Friday December 05, 2003 @01:09PM (#7639671) Homepage Journal
    With the U.N. in charge they will put China or Saudi Arabia in charge of "Internet Freedoms of Expression" much like Lyba and others have headed up the "Human Rights" group.
    • by isfuglen ( 714922 )
      ...and Nigerian in charge of "Spam Control," of course.
    • Yeah and actually if you cared to look deeply enough you'd have noticed that such a position helped those third-world countries who headed up the UN "Human Rights" group make progress towards that goal.

      I wouldn't want the UN controlling the Internet though, I don't think anyone should control it.
      • Progress indeed! Actually if you cared to look deeply enough you'd realize that in the scope of human rights cleaning the dried blood of the torture tools before using them on the next guy is not much progress.

        Please learn more at


        But I have the felling that you are one of those leftist that as long as some one says they feel for or they are trying to do their gosh darn best to stop hurting people, you belive them because you valu
  • Even if the UN decides they want control of the Internet, how can they enforce it? The only reason any authority exists on the Internet is because owners of the individual networks voluntarily agree to follow their direction. If the people in charge of domain registration or IP allocation suddenly became completely intolerable, the network operators could easily switch to some new system for handling it and once again 'the Internet routes around what it percieves to be damage'.

    I really don't see the UN taking control. Developed nations won't allow it. The Internet should remain a private entity without direct government control. Especially not the UN's control... Considering how ineffective they are in running everything else, I shudder to think about how poorly they will manage something like the Internet.
    • ...Funny, I thought it BEGAN under "direct government control." Specifically, the U. S. military. Specifically, DARPA.

      I even had the impression that most of the key technical and governance decisions resulting in the success of the Internet evolved under those conditions.

      Or am I remembering incorrectly, and the Internet is a actually a direct descendant of CompuServe and The Source? (If you're old enough to remember CompuServe and The Source, you're old enough for your memory to be flaky!)
      • Well I explained it better in another comment... But what I mean is control of the Internet should remain in the hands of those responsible for running the Internet.
        The network you are thinking of is actually ARPANET, which was only a small part of the 'Internet' and one of the last sections of it to embrace TCP/IP. But even ARPANET's standards were designed in the same manner: Those who would actually run the network (ARPA, Universities) got together and agreed on standard ways of doing things. That's wher
    • I think you answered your own question. They would enforce it by getting the owners of the individual networks voluntarily to agree to follow their direction. Assuming they came up with a plan which was agreed upon by the vast majority of the countries, migration could begin. Countries which refused to agree would slowly be forced off the network until they did agree.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 05, 2003 @01:10PM (#7639680)
    Would it take 13 years and 12 resolutions to kick a spammer of the internet?
  • by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Friday December 05, 2003 @01:10PM (#7639684)
    The days of the governments not interfering with the internet and it being a "wild-west frontier" of technology are over. Its probably a poor analogy, but its like the old west, the Web will be tamed.

    The questions the user-base of the Internet is who and how. I find it surprising that two of the biggest backer of the UN's idea of giving more control of the Internet are China and Cuba, both try to control what people can read and what sites their people can visit on the internet.

    The days of the internet being a true medium for free-speach I think is alomst over. The problem now is if governments, that freedom will be gone for many people.

    • I prefer he internet pretty much the way it is: pseudo-feudal. You have lots of open space, with the farmers and other country folk. They may or may not be under the protection of a knight (ISP). You also have heavily fortified castles (corporate and other private networks) firewalled from the larger net.

      As time goes on, and collections of poorly protected folk get repeatedly attacked by marauders, they either fortify their demsne's (fortified homes of clans/families aka ancient Ireland and Scotland) o

  • non-issue (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kayen_telva ( 676872 ) on Friday December 05, 2003 @01:13PM (#7639718)
    neither the WSIS or UN have any AUTHORITY over the internet.
    its like North Korea discussing what they are going to do with Houston, TX.

    wtf ? total non-issue

    Incidentally, htf COULD they censor or control it?
    Dig up the ocean going cables and route them through their offices ?
    the cpu horsepower they would need to monitor it all is way above the UN's budget.
    • All they need to do is control the root servers. If the UN implements their plan, and the US agrees, any root server in the US would be subject to control. It would just trickle down from there - a domain that hosts content that is not allowed by the UN would simply be denied listing, be prosecuted, etc.
  • Hmm (Score:2, Funny)

    by bravehamster ( 44836 )
    Guess we'll just have to take the long way around any pastel blue routers we find.

  • by tds67 ( 670584 ) on Friday December 05, 2003 @01:19PM (#7639774)
    From the Reuters article:

    Incubated in a geeky part of the U.S. Department of Defense decades ago, the Internet has become a thriving global marketplace since being fully turned over to the private business community in the early 1990s.

    So the Internet didn't take off until Big Business wrested control of it from the Geeky Nerds? Let's hear it for Corporate America! Woo-hoo! Slap another software patent on the barbeque and pass me a Coca-Cola (and please, no free beer).

    • Incubated in a geeky part of the U.S. Department of Defense decades ago, the Internet has become a thriving global marketplace since being fully turned over to the private business community in the early 1990s.

      So the Internet didn't take off until Big Business wrested control of it from the Geeky Nerds? Let's hear it for Corporate America! Woo-hoo! Slap another software patent on the barbeque and pass me a Coca-Cola (and please, no free beer).

      Instead of the revised history, this may be more accurate:

  • by Matt Clare ( 692178 ) on Friday December 05, 2003 @01:24PM (#7639832) Homepage's basically just changing the name of ICANN and perhaps the members. I actually think that something like this is a good idea. After all, ICANN is right now subject to the American courts, what if the RIAA says decides that it can sue ICANN for assigning IPs to music swapers? If ICANN where to become a UN agency (and never change staff, never leave Cailiforina, etc.) it would be beyond domestic courts. I think it would look a lot like UNESCO. Though I do stress that something like this is the best idea, because suggestions like 'Will Iran be put in charge of online free speech?' are valid. One thing the UN is is charter bound - if this where to be set up like ICANN then could be registered, but things like IPv6 would be promoted so US companies can't hoard IPs and legal action would need the backing of a member state.
    • I'd be concerned about sacntions, to be honest. Could they take North Korea offline to force compliance with nuclear treaties? What if they UN makes a rule that if they send "peace-keeping forces" (or whatever nice name they choose to give their people with big guns) to an area, they will also impose "digital sanctions" and block the nation from accessing the internet, etc.?
  • I don't like it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sevensharpnine ( 231974 ) on Friday December 05, 2003 @01:25PM (#7639845)
    I don't want any government oversight of the Internet. I'll take the money-hungry private interests over the politicians, thank you. I know it's not a popular idea, but businesses represent a more democratic (albeit indirect) control of the Internet.

    With businesses running things (as is mostly the case today), we have a system in which the "technological elite" exercise the greatest control over the Internet. You and I are the driving force between the everything-routes-everywhere phenomena seen today in the Free World. We won't subscribe to an ISP that only gives us their 37% of the Internet. We don't do business with ISP's that openly censor controversial content (though there are a few stupid exceptions).

    Any sort of Government control threatens this. I don't want an Internet where the U.S. is "protected" from visiting "terrorist" nations. I don't want an Internet where this week's dissenting European ally doesn't route our data. I don't want the largest parties in democracies using mob-rule to determine what is and is not appropriate.

    What I want is decentralized chaos. The less control exerted by any one agency, the better off we all are. Given the difficult choice between the Governments and private sectors, I'll take the private sectors. At least their motives are clear and susceptible to genuine democratic influence (money)--not to gov't propaganda and international politicking.
    • "we have a system in which the "technological elite" exercise the greatest control over the Internet.

      A-umh. You mean verisign ? (was it namefinder or sitesearch)

      "We won't subscribe to an ISP that only gives us their 37% of the Internet. "

      And 95% of internet users think the only routes are the one with cars on it.

      democratic influence != money influence. If it was the case for software, than a given Bill G. could destroy (e.g.) Linux and BSD because he has more money than the rest of us.

  • What Authority? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rstultz ( 146201 ) on Friday December 05, 2003 @01:31PM (#7639889) Homepage
    Did they pay for the basic infrastructure?
    Do they own a significant portion of the "net"?
    Where they involved in the risk taking that made the net successful?

    No. No. No.

    Quite frankly if the western world wants to run the internet by their own (fair or unfair) rules, they are allowed to. The internet isn't some gift to the world. It was designed by certain groups (okay, lots of groups, working together) and they should be able to maintain control.

    If third-world dictators want an internet to control, why don't they invest in the infrastructure, setup their own governing body, and create their own network. It isn't like anything would stop them from doing so.

    Other than lack of money and technologically skilled workers.

  • The reason no one can control the Internet is because there is no "Internet," lest we forget the early 1990's when newbies would ask us about the "Internet Company" and you would explain that there is no one company, just a bunch of network providers that are interconnected.

    The only reality is that there are lots of computer networks variously located in many sovereign nations that happen to be cooperating at this time (the networks, not necessarily the nations). Just like everything else in the world, it
  • This is a relief (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Illserve ( 56215 ) on Friday December 05, 2003 @01:53PM (#7640116)
    I'm glad to see that Information Society is finally getting the recognition they deserve for doing such cutting edge stuff. Their music was absolutely transcendental.

    I'm not all that pleased to see the UN having a hand in this however. Their history of intervention in the techno scene is hardly something to be proud of.
  • by WildBeast ( 189336 ) on Friday December 05, 2003 @01:55PM (#7640147) Journal
    Almost 10 years now and I've never had problems with the Internet. So why do governments feel the need to control it? Just leave us the hell alone damn it. It's none of your damn business.

    People in the US go to prison for selling hardcore porn on the internet, people in Saudi Arabia go to prison for praising Ben Laden, people in Egypt go to prison for being gay. If the UN takes all those laws and make them international laws, nobody would be able to do shit.
  • The UN running the internet? Thoes lazy motherfuckers can't even get countries to quit waring with each other. Not to mention that ALL of them are technically inept and would just pass a shit load of unenforceable internet laws that would criminalize everyone, but them...
  • Bugs me (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DaLiNKz ( 557579 )
    What bugs me is that it seems everything always wants to begin controlling something once it gets large. The internet exists because people decide on their own to support it. Now some want the UN to control it. The great thing about the internet is its lack of control by really anything. As much as I may disagree with Hate sites, places with sick behaviour and such I wouldn't give up my own ability to do what I want just so a group of people who know nothing of the Internet can try to control it. I think th
  • What happend to all you liberal Dean supporters willing to submit US sovereignty to the UN?

    So the UN is not capable of managing the Internet but when it comes to the "managing" human lives they are fully competent.
    • Wrong. NO ONE is up to, or must be allowed to, regulate the internet. The internet is for everyone and must not be "regulated" beyond ensuring fair distribution of IP addresses and names (web). It is not for the US, or the UK, or even the UN to say, "Such and such communication is NOT allowed", or "Such and such information is not to be diseminated", and the like.

      No one country owns the internet and we must not allow the UN to control it (anymore than allowing the US to control it). The US would try t

  • Who should control the internet? Government or businesses?

    I don't want anyone controlling the internet. The individual pieces, to be sure, need to be controlled. For instance, I demand complete controll over my tiny section of it known as my workstation. And I'm not going to dispute an ISP's right to control their servers, or another company's right to control their landlines. But I don't want any group in control over the whole of the internet.

    What happens if a government gets control of the internet? We
  • by billtom ( 126004 ) on Friday December 05, 2003 @04:07PM (#7641400)
    There's a bit of confusion here about the UN. Now I'm not an expert, but my impression is that the UN is a whole bunch of agencies that have only vague connections between each other. In fact, they call them the UN System of Organizations []. For example, the Security Council doesn't give orders to UNICEF.

    So all the arguments on this thread citing problems with the Security Council or the General Assembly or the Secretariat as reasons not to put internet governance under the UN aren't particularly relevant. For example: "UN shouldn't govern the internet because China has a veto on the Security Council", doesn't make much sense.

    What's being suggested is to create a new Special Agency (see the org chart on the site UN System of Organizations I gave above) or to assign internet goverance to an existing Special Agency (the ITU). And the Special Agencies are the most autonomous parts of the UN.

  • Having worked there as a programmer for a few years:
    The UN and its branches cannot be sued, which gives it protection from litigation but also frees it from any kind of accountability. This is why the UN has done so little since it was founded 50 years ago.
    Part of Kofi Annan's plan for updating the way the UN works (in terms of peacekeeping issues) is to hand off military authority to a selected 'sponsor state' (eg Australia during the East Timor war with Indonesia).
    If this same method is used for Inter

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian