Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Important Battle over Internet

Internet Stability, Security Must Be Maintained, U.S. Says- U.S. Department Of State

The managment and governance of the Internet is again becoming a not insignificant international issue.

There is considerable pressure from some countries for that entire issue to be taken over by some multilateral international body. After all, mail issues are coordinated by the International Postal Union (IPU), and telephone and telegraphd dito by the International Telephone and Telegraphy Union (ITU), the one in Berne and the other in Geneva.

Many of the corresponding issues for the Internet are however dealt with by the non-governmental ICANN organisation, headquartered in California and operating under US laws. In the background howevers a certain role of the US government, reflecting a part of the history of the origin of the system.

Now, a UN panel has issued a report with a series of alternatives for the future, and the US government has issued its position in a rather extensive paper.

In essence, the US position comes down more in favour of the ICANN than of the ITU.

I have a fair amount of experience of both UN organisations and of ICANN, and I have to say that I see much greater flexibility and transparence of these issues remain with ICANN than if they disappear in a gigantic office building and multilateral organisation in Geneva.

The issue is important. Those that take an interest in the future of the Internet and what it represent should take an interest and try to influence the outcome.