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<nettime> UK resists radical net overhaul
lsi on Fri, 21 Oct 2005 11:35:17 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> UK resists radical net overhaul

[I'm going for option 2 - a "forum for official debate on net issues" 
is long overdue (haven't they heard of NANOG?) ... this should buy 
some time until the 'rootless DNS' appears.  My choice is to have 
neither the UN or ICANN run the net.  Administrative functions should 
be decentralised and then automated.  Previous posts on this topic:


- Stu]


UK resists radical net overhaul 
The firm that runs the .uk net domain name, Nominet, says there 
should be no radical change to the way that the internet is managed 

Nominet said it would prefer a system which did not over-regulate the 

The issue of who controls the backbone of the net, such as domains 
and traffic routing, will be debated at a United Nations summit in 
Tunisia next month. 

The European Union (EU) wants control shifted away from the US to a 
more representative global body or forum. 

But the US wants to continue its historical supervisory role over the 
net and rejected the EU's proposals last month. 

'Instrument of censorship' 

On Monday, US Senator Norm Coleman introduced a Senate resolution 
calling for the Bush administration to oppose any suggested changes 
to the way the net is run at the upcoming World Summit on the 
Information Society in Tunis. 

He said there was no "rational justification" for moving net 
governance into any kind of UN framework. He said it would politicise 
and stifle the net. 

"Many aspects of running the internet have profound implications for 
competition and trade, democratisation, and free expression," he 

"We cannot stand idly by as some governments seek to make the 
internet an instrument of censorship and political suppression. We 
must stand fast against all attempts to alter the internet's nature 
as a free and open global system," he added. 

No EU regulation? 

The US has been the dominant nation which manages the net's core 
addressing systems and traffic routing because it played such a huge 
role in funding and driving the early days of the internet. 

Nominet's director of legal and policy matters, Emily Taylor, warned 
that any major overhaul could lead to too much regulation. 

"From Nominet's perspective, nothing radical needs to change in 
internet governance," she said. 

"Intervention by governments worldwide, each with their own political 
agenda and cultural beliefs to uphold, threatens to consign the 
internet to a future of over-regulation." 

The US Commerce Department currently approves any changes to the 
net's core addressing systems, the root zone files, which are in turn 
managed by the private company, Icann (Internet Corporation for 
Assigned Names and Numbers). 

Ms Taylor said that out of the several proposals by countries 
involved in the discussions for a change in net management, it would 
prefer a model suggested by Argentina. 

It would mean net management would remain more or less the same, but 
a global forum could be created made up of national governments, 
private sector representatives and civil groups. 

"We prefer the 'multi-stakeholder' proposal, suggested by Argentina, 
which provides a balance between the US free market position, and non-
democratic nations' (such as Cuba, China and Iran) call for greater 
state control," said Ms Taylor. 

Last week, the European Commissioner responsible for the net, Viviane 
Reding, told journalists that the EU had "no intention" of regulating 
the net. 

She talked of a "model of cooperation", which could include an 
international forum to discuss the internet. 

Lengthy discussions 

Last month the UN's Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) 
published its suggestions to reform the way the net is run, which 
will form the basis of the debate at the UN summit, between 16 and 18 

With more developing nations going online, keen to exploit the net's 
economic and social potential, many feel that the US should not have 
the biggest say over how the net, and any changes to it, is organised 
and managed. 

As a result, WGIG has suggested four models: 

Option One - create a UN body known as the Global Internet Council 
that draws its members from governments and "other stakeholders" and 
takes over the US oversight role of Icann. 

Option Two - no changes apart from strengthening Icann's Governmental 
Advisory Committee to become a forum for official debate on net 

Option Three - relegate Icann to a narrow technical role and set up 
an International Internet Council that sits outside the UN. US loses 
oversight of Icann 

Option Four - create three new bodies. One to take over from Icann 
and look after the net's addressing system. One to be a debating 
chamber for governments, businesses and the public; and one to co-
ordinate work on "internet-related public policy issues".

The US says that these UN proposals would shift the regulatory 
approach from private sector leadership to governmental, top-down 

Countries such as Brazil, China and Iran want regulation of the net 
to be shared by more nations. 

Iranian filters 

While Iran is taking part in the UN discussions about who governs the 
net, it is still committed to clamping down on what Iranians can do 
and say on the net. 

The press freedom campaign group, Reporters Without Borders, reported 
this week that the Iranian government was looking to tighten its 
control of the net further. 

It said the authorities were attempting to centralise web filtering 
technology across the country's different net service providers with 
a new filtering system from an Iranian company called Delta Global. 

Reporters Without Borders said it was concerned by statements coming 
from the company itself about its role. 

The head of Delta Global, Rahim Moazemi, told the local news agency 
ISNA in late September that its technology was able to block access 
to all the tools used to get round censorship. 

"If what this company's chief executive says turns out to be correct, 
online surveillance and censorship is to be stepped up," said 
Reporters Without Borders. 

"This is very bad news for Iranian bloggers and internet users."

Stuart Udall
stuart at {AT} cyberdelix.dot net - http://www.cyberdelix.net/

 * Origin: lsi: revolution through evolution (192:168/0.2)

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