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<nettime> Condoleeza's letter on internet governance
Sasha Costanza-Chock on Tue, 6 Dec 2005 15:00:14 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Condoleeza's letter on internet governance

Yes, it's 'real.'


Read the letter that won the internet governance battle
By Kieren McCarthy
Published Friday 2nd December 2005 09:07 GMT


The World Summit in Tunis last month was overshadowed by the global
argument over internet governance.

Its biggest controversy came with the proposition put forward by the EU
a month earlier that there be a new inter-governmental body that oversee
ICANN. The US government - which currently enjoys unilateral control
over the internet infrastructure - was furious and launched an enormous
lobbying campaign, both public and private, across the board to retain
its position.
Click Here

Most significant among all those lobbying efforts was a letter sent from
the US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice to the UK foreign minister
Jack Straw acting in the role of presidency of the EU.

In the letter, Rice used strong language for a diplomatic missive, to
stress how seriously the US administration was taking the issue and how
determined it was to retain ICANN in overall charge of the internet.
European diplomats privately confessed that the letter had a significant
impact on their position.

The result was that the EU never raised its inter-governmental forum
again in World Summit meetings, and the end agreement stuck with the US

This is the first time time the full text of that letter has been publish=

7 November 2005


The Right Honourable Jack Straw MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and
Commonwealth Affairs, London

Dear Foreign Secretary,

The governance structure and continued stability and sustainability of
the Internet are of paramount importance to the United States. The
Internet has become an essential infrastructure for global
communications, including for global trade and commerce, and therefore
we firmly believe that support for the present structures for Internet
governance is vital. These structures have proven to be a reliable
foundation for the robust growth of the Internet we have seen over the
course of the last decade.

As we approach the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), we
should underscore the vast potential of the Internet for global economic
expansion, poverty alleviation, and for improving health, education and
other public services, particularly in the developing world where
Internet access remain unacceptably low.

The Internet will reach its full potential as a medium and facilitator
for global economic expansion and development in an environment free
from burdensome intergovernmental oversight and control. The success of
the Internet lies in its inherently decentralized nature, with the most
significant growth taking place at the outer edges of the network
through innovative new applications and services. Burdensome,
bureaucratic oversight is out of place in an Internet structure that has
worked so well for many around the globe. We regret the recent positions
on Internet governance(i.e., the =93new cooperation model=94) offered by =
European Union, the Presidency of which is currently held by the United
Kingdom, seems to propose just that - a new structure of
intergovernmental control over the Internet.

The four principles the United States issues on June 30, 2005, reinforce
the continuing U.S. commitment to the Internet=92s security and stability=
including through the historical U.S. role in authorizing changes or
modifications to the authoritative root zone file. At that time, we also
expressed our support for ICANN as the appropriate private sector
technical coordinator of the Internet=92s domain name and addressing
system. We believe that ICANN is dedicated to achieving broad
representation of global Internet communities and to developing policy
through consensus-based processes. We have also expressed our interest
in working with the international community to address legitimate public
policy and sovereignty concerns with respect to country code top-level
domains (ccTLD). We wish to underscore that, in our statement of June
30, we supported ongoing dialogue on issues related to Internet
governance across international forums.

The United States and the European Union have long worked together
toward the goal of global access to the Internet. The WSIS offers us the
opportunity to reaffirm our partnership to spread the benefits of the
Internet globally. At the same time, the security and stability of the
Internet are essential to the United States, the European Union, and to
the world. We firmly believe that the existing Internet system balances
the stability and security we need with the innovation and dynamism that
private sector leadership provides.

The history of the Internet=92s extraordinary growth and adaptation ,
based on private-sector innovation and investment, offers compelling
arguments against burdening the network with a new intergovernmental
structure for oversight. It also suggests that a new intergovernmental
structure would most likely become an obstacle to global Internet access
for all our citizens. It is in this spirit that we ask the European
Union to reconsider its new position on Internet governance and work
together with us to bring the benefits of the Information Society to all.


Carlos M. Guiterrez Secretary of Commerce

Condoleezza Rice Secretary of State
Related link

US wins net governance battle


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