I’ve got to be missing the boat on this issue:
U.S. claims victory in Internet control fight is the headline from this MSNBC article. Apparently, the “Internationalist” out there want to control ICANN – the current governing body of the Internet. You see, this great thing we have come to rely on called the Internet came about out of a DARPA project in the 70s. So, the government of the people of the United States funded this project and continues to this day to hold the last control over how domain names are managed. I would also think that IP addresses are managed by ICANN as well, but am not 100% sure on that.
What does this mean to you and I. Well, according to the article, some delegates such as President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe ask “Why should our diverse world be beholden to an American company?”
You know, unless I’m totally missing the boat here, there is technically no “owner” of the Internet. Each Internet Service Provider (ISP) owns the networks that they then connect their customers to the Internet, hence the word Inter-Connection. I’m going find a basic connection drawing to show this. Anyway, the real glue that binds the Internet together is the Domain Name System and Internet Protocol Address system. These services are managed by ICANN.
But, if Zimbabwe decided that they didn’t like the Internet they could simply require their ISPs to disconnect from the Internet and create their own DNS and IP address system, creating their own Internet. The article stated that unless there was a compromise, the Internet could become fragmented in the future. I say fragment away if control is what you want Mr. Mugabe. Apparently, there are plenty of zealots out there like Robert who are control freaks and don’t want someone else to “manage” an open system, much less, be “beholden” to the greedy US.
You see, the problem with giving the UN or an International Forum “control” of the DNS and IP Address system is this: what if, say in 2010, the US has to, for whatever reason, do something that the International Community deems “wrong.” If they control the DNS and IP Address system, they could sanction the US and revoke the US based DNS names and IPs and then we would have to scramble to fix our inter network connections. No thanks. If I have to trust someone to manage the Internet I’ll stick with ICANN and the US government for now. Of course, I’m a US citizen, but there’s not many countries I would trust with this responsibility right now. EU – NO, UN – NO, Zimbabwe – HELL NO.
Over the years I’ve really notice a huge International hatred of the US being reported by the US press. I really wonder what most of the world’s population really thinks about us? On one hand I know how much we give to the world and how much people want to live and work in the US. But I really wonder at times if our self identity is the same as what the world really sees us?
Yea, this Internet “ownership” is just the tip of the iceberg and an example of a greater problem. The world is growing smaller and smaller as each day passes. With this shrinkage, there are many, many, many people out there who 1) don’t want to live as peaceful members of a world community and 2) want to control the way other’s live their lives.
Yes, Freedom on the Internet is a mirror about Freedom in the physical world. Either we fight for it or we will loose it.