November 16, 2005 5:40 AM PST

U.S. reaches Net detente with U.N.

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international participation in discussions of Internet governance issues. The question is how to achieve this. Let those discussions continue."

Internet showdown postponed

A debate on the future of the Internet will resume at an event in Greece next year to inaugurate a new U.N. Internet Governance Forum. Following are excerpts from the document creating that forum.

The mandate of the IGF is to:

  • Discuss public-policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance in order to foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the Internet
  • Facilitate discourse between bodies dealing with different cross-cutting international public policies regarding the Internet
  • Discuss topics relating to critical Internet resources
  • Help find solutions to the issues arising from the use and misuse of the Internet, of particular concern to everyday users
  • More guidelines:

  • The IGF would have no oversight function and would not replace existing arrangements, mechanisms, institutions or organizations
  • Countries should not be involved in decisions regarding another country's top-level domain, such as .uk or .jp. Their legitimate interests need to be respected, upheld and addressed.
  • Source: World Summit on the Information Society

    Annan acknowledged that the U.S. has exercised its Internet oversight "fairly and honorably" but said change has become necessary. The United Nations has no desire to "control or police the Internet," Annan added.

    That stance seemed to be an effort to placate conservative groups and businesses, especially in the United States, which are alarmed at what some view as the prospect of a thoroughly corrupt and unaccountable bureaucracy seizing control of Internet management.

    A report released this week by the National Taxpayers Union warned that "controlling Internet content while securing another income source through the United Nations seems an attractive policy outcome for politicians looking to suppress dissent and to prop up financially ailing bureaucracies."

    The Computing Technology Industry Association, or CompTIA, has stressed that it supports a "market-based solutions" approach rather than expanded U.N. control. So have a roster of tech companies, including Google, IBM and Microsoft, and members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

    One reason why businesses are alarmed is the lengthy list of suggestions that have been advanced in the past by nations participating in the U.N. process. Those include new mandates for "consumer protection," the power to tax domain names to pay for "universal access" and folding ICANN into a U.N. agency. The United Nations has previously suggested creating an international tax bureaucracy and once floated the idea of taxing e-mail, saying in a report (PDF) that a 1 cent tax on 100 e-mail messages would be "negligible."

    Violence before summit
    The lead-up to the WSIS has been marred by violence against journalists and human rights activists. French journalist Christophe Boltanski, who had arrived early to write about Tunisia President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's civil-liberties record, was stabbed in an assault by four men and not aided by nearby police. The Committee to Protect Journalists said in a statement that such attacks are characteristic of Tunisia's secret police.

    In another incident, journalists and civil-liberties activists planning their own summit on human rights were assaulted and detained by Tunisian police. In response, members of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange said they would pull out of the summit.

    Human rights groups have warned for years that Ben Ali's autocratic regime has imprisoned and tortured political opponents and harassed full-time journalists and part-time online scribes.

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    Add your comment
    Yeah right.
    Lets give full control of the Internet to the U.N.

    Who thinks this crud up? Why would we EVER turn over control of the most valuable resource in the world over to an organization with no balls that can't even manage the smallest of projects without getting lost in thier own BS.
    Posted by (9 comments )
    Reply Link Flag
    If China, Iran, Syria and Cuba endorsed the plan, it must be good!
    Posted by ebrandel (102 comments )
    Link Flag
    You tend to forget...
    The US is also member of the UN. Don't see them doing much good in there either... <cough>WMD</cough>
    Posted by Steven N (487 comments )
    Link Flag
    Throw Them a Bone
    Zimbabwe is concerned that the US can't run the Internet properly? LOL!

    The Bush guys proabably made a mistake is telling them that we will continue to talk about this trash -- in two years.

    This is ludicrous.

    No, we are not going to let Iran censor the net.
    No, we are not going to let India configure the root servers.
    No, we are not going to let Kofie's kid put a tax on email.

    Whatever you were going to ask next, it's no.
    Posted by (139 comments )
    Reply Link Flag
    If these countries can't control thier own people in a civilized way, how are they going to control the most powerful tool in the world? Thanks but no thanks 3rd world, we're in charge.
    Posted by smcgui5 (21 comments )
    Link Flag
    Nigeria is concerned
    Nigeria is concerned that they will loose control over all the spam they send

    <a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
    Posted by SqlserverCode (165 comments )
    Reply Link Flag
    It's amusing that the story says they are backing down to "...placate conservative groups and businesses." Please. I am not a member of either group. I just don't want the U.N. anywhere near the internet. It's too valuable a resource to the world to allow it to fall in the hands of the U.N. Trying to spin it as some kind of conservative or globalization conspiracy will not work for people who want to continue to enjoy the freedom of the internet (good and bad) that is provided by management/control by the West.
    Posted by Jeremiah256 (28 comments )
    Reply Link Flag
    We should turn it over to....
    a bunch of machete wielding baby killers. Bruce Willis in the movie "Tears of the Sun" should have upon learning Mugabe was among the natives being rescued placed three 9mm bullets in his head.

    President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe spoke for the more radical opposition to U.S. control, saying Washington and its allies cannot continue to "insist on being world policemen on the management of the Internet."

    "Why should our diverse world be beholden to an American company?," he told more than 10,000 government, business and other delegates as the three-day U.N. World Summit on the Information Society opened Wednesday.
    Posted by Muddleme (99 comments )
    Reply Link Flag
    Freedom is vital
    If you believe in freedom of thought and expression let your senators and representatives know that the american public wants control of the internet to stay in the US. Knowledge is power and that is a threat to any repressive regime that seeks to control its population and keep it in the dark. America has it's faults but compared to many other countries in this world it is a paradise. The free flow of information between peoples will enable us to learn about and understand each other and in the end maybe eliminate the need for armies, wars and totalitarian governments--that is what they really fear.
    Posted by telynor (3 comments )
    Reply Link Flag
    Who creates and arms those regimes
    Seeing the surface is one thing getting down to the root is an other. Those dictators are created by western and multinational firms who dictate even the western presidents. Folks who are shareholders in such firms should know what their money is used for and how. In most cases they do not know. They will not tell you that they will destroy certain democracy's in order to rob some country's resources. Just to make you one cent on your invested buck. Do they? When they want to "rob some OIL" it is called and wrapped into "spreading Democracy", and most shareholder suckers believe it! From my point of view it is like financing robbery and government sponsored International terrorism! Past example of undermining democracy is Chile. Who is next? Future one? He he he ... My prediction is that USA will try to topple a democratically elected president of Venezuela to prevent him from sharing the goods and profit from oil with his fellow citizens. USA will tell you some other foxy garbage. Let's wait and see! If people fight back to stop a robber, US will call them terrorists. The rest of the World calls them freedom fighters! Makes sense?
    Posted by cyberblatt (35 comments )
    Link Flag
    dot whatever...
    polka dot puppet master..

    I vote for antartica!! let the penguins do thier thing...
    Posted by (47 comments )
    Reply Link Flag
    No Way!!!
    The US has been very generous involving the world in internet technology. Control must stay with the US because it is one of a very few countries which have the checks and balances to keep governing of the internet honest.
    There are too many greedy CORRUPT leaders in the UN.
    Posted by techisgood (3 comments )
    Reply Link Flag
    Do You Notice Who It Always Is????
    Do you notice how the totalitarians in the world are always trying to hijack freedom? Now they are weighing in on hijacking the Internet. Cuba and Red China for the communist left, and Mugabe and others for the fascist right. They can all go dance together with AKs and machetes. A pox on both their houses.

    Never give this control up!
    Posted by Terry Gay (127 comments )
    Reply Link Flag
    Power Hungry USA!!!
    Who cares if US controls *.com .ny .canada .whatever!? The truth is no one does; we don't! The problem is if they want to control us!! Let us have our freedom back and have our own subdomains and fortnately we actually don't need your permission! Why do you control,,, What are you so afraid of? Just let them go! It's not any better than those lunatics who just buy multiple URLs to blackmail their owners! Bottom Line: you think you can control us and that stinks! Give us our power! What's wrong with us controlling ourselves?
    Posted by (11 comments )
    Reply Link Flag
    How sad that you are so blinded by your dislike of the US that you fail to realize that the very reason to keep oversight with the US is so that the net remains open. Do you really believe that any totalitarian regime would not restrict access to all ideas--good and bad? Do I want any government censoring what I see or read or think, I don't think so.
    Posted by telynor (3 comments )
    Link Flag

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