UN Takeover of Internet?

What role should government and intra-governmental agencies play
in the international development of the Internet? Some 5,000
representatives from more than 60 nations began asking that
question along with key others at the United Nations’ first World
Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), meeting in Geneva
Wednesday. Jennifer L. Schenker, of the International Herald
Tribune
, reports on the proposal that the Internet be moved
from private-sector based control by groups such as the Internet
Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to the United
Nations. The proposal comes in response to a feeling within the
international community that their voices are not being heard in
regard to how the Internet is run.

Paul Twomey, the head of ICANN, felt firsthand the frustration
of ‘voicelessness’ felt by countries outside the U.S. at a
preliminary meeting Friday. Twomey, along with representatives of
the news media and other civilians were escorted out after
participants decided to exclude observers. Reached outside the
conference, Twomey told Schenker: ‘Here I am outside a UN meeting
room where diplomats — most of whom know little about the
technical aspects — are deciding in a closed forum how 750 million
people should reach the Internet. I am not amused.’

But in a situation where ‘the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology still has more Internet addresses than all of China,’
one can assume that the world is not amused either. Talal
Abu-Ghazeleh, a Jordanian businessman who is vice chairman of the
UN Information and Communication Technology Task Force, says it’s
‘time for the rest of the world to have a larger voice in [the
Internet’s] governance.’ At the close of the summit on Friday, four
topics will have been addressed: Internet governance, the use of
excess bandwitdth to help development, connecting more people to
communications networks and finding the appropriate
technologies.
Kyle Cohen

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UN Takeover of
Internet? Some are ‘Not aAmused’

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