Democratic thinking

Articles on democracy in the independent online media

November 25, 2005

Internet governance politics

The issues of Internet governance were resolved at 2230 UTC the night before the UN-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis was to be held between 16-18 November 2005.

In the end, the status quo was maintained, with the overall operational and technical functions of the internet remaining under US control. The US government will control internet functions such as domain name systems and root servers; as well as the Californian-based, nonprofit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) which looks after it all. Head of ICANN Paul Twomey said: "This is a powerful outcome, the 'win' that everybody wanted."

Kenneth Neil Cukier writes in the November/December 2005 issue of US-based Foreign Affairs journal that "the controversy over who controls the internet has simmered in insular technology-policy circles for years". The global telephone system is administered by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the world's oldest international treaty organization, founded in 1865 and a part of the UN. Many of the governments of the world have criticized the current arrangement, some calling ICANN "an instrument of American hegemony over cyberspace: its private-sector approach favours the United States, Washington retains oversight authority, and its Governmental Advisory Committee, composed of delegates from other nations, has not real powers", writes Cukier. Many of the governments of the world wanted the administration of the internet to fall under an international treaty, like the phone network.

Read the full article from WanabeHuman.

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