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US Relaxes Control Over ICANN 230

Posted by Soulskill
from the icann't-believe-it dept.
An anonymous reader tips news that the US Dept. of Commerce has signed an agreement with ICANN to end their current oversight responsibilities and allow more input from the global community. "The move comes after European regulators and other critics have said the US government could wield too much influence over a system used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Those critics have complained, among other things, about the slow rollout of Internet addresses entirely in languages other than English." The US will still be involved; every three years, ICANN's work will be evaluated by a committee, one member of which will be from the Dept. of Commerce.
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US Relaxes Control Over ICANN

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  • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @01:09PM (#29595837) Journal

    This is only a good thing. ICANN with it's power has been too US based for long time already, while internet is global.

    As an EU citizen I'm happy and even surprised to see this happening - US actually caring about other people too and giving some control to people elsewhere.

    To begin with Internet was a distributed system that couldn't be taken down at one point.

  • No! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geekboybt (866398) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @01:22PM (#29596029)
    I'm of the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" persuasion. I'm also a fan of doing away with committees when a group of people have proven that they can do a job well. If the only complaint is that some things are slow, how on earth is bringing it to a committee going to make things any faster?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @01:27PM (#29596101)

    So we're giving more control over the internet to total surveillance societies like Great Britain? Not that I'm against sharing control, but I also don't see how it's automatically a good thing.

  • Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by R2.0 (532027) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @01:29PM (#29596131)

    The chorus calling for the "end to US control over the Internet" will morph into the "end of ICAAN control, because they are not subject to oversight." Withe the "solution" being the same - UN oversight.

    They are not looking for more freedom - they want more control.

  • by brainboyz (114458) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @01:29PM (#29596137) Homepage

    It doesn't bust it any more than having companies running their own domain DNS does. It puts more load on the root servers, but custom TLDs don't bust DNS any more than domains running custom DNS servers to host subdomains.

    Btw, good job on posting that opinion appropriately: as a coward. :D

  • Re:UN slow? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by brainboyz (114458) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @01:41PM (#29596295) Homepage

    Far more countries than just the US declined to participate in the Climate Change issues. As for healthcare and the US climate policy, perhaps the US' view of these topics is different from your own? Just because their policies are different from what you'd want doesn't mean they don't make sense from a different perspective.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @01:41PM (#29596313) Journal
    I can't believe this crap gets moderated up every time. The US put the majority of work into establishing what, exactly? Into designing TCP/IP? More or less true, although it was reviewed internationally and a number of the contributors were not from the USA. Building the infrastructure? No. Within the USA this is true, but outside (you know, where most of the Internet is)? Not so much. Hosting the root DNS servers? No, sorry, the majority of them have been hosted outside the USA for quite a few years now. Services that run on top of the Internet? You mean like that protocol designed by a Brit in Switzerland that you're using to troll Slashdot?
  • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @01:48PM (#29596413) Journal

    Yes, I'd rather see UN manage the internet than a single country (US). Then it would actually have opinions of other countries on it too.

  • by Tablizer (95088) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @01:54PM (#29596477) Homepage Journal

    Rather than bicker over who has the "right" to control it, a more important question is what's the practical implications of control. If other countries grow upset at US control, eventually they'll circumvent it. As soon as one country does it and tests the approach, it may create a domino effect where everybody does it, leaving the US on a digital island. Ultimately any given country can control whatever comes in over their wires, and if they don't like the US's approach, they'll usurp it when needed.

  • Ya Censorship! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by sadler121 (735320) <msadler@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @01:54PM (#29596489) Homepage

    Ya, I can't wait till domains are revoked for holocaust denial, or for "hate speech" against any kind of minority!

  • Re:UN slow? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CannonballHead (842625) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @02:04PM (#29596619)

    Look at the Climate Change pieces which brought together the whole world and came to an agreement (sans one little country called the US)

    Yeah, it's a good thing manufacturing giants like China are working so hard to protect the environment. Why can't the US follow its example!

  • Re:UN slow? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MosesJones (55544) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @02:05PM (#29596645) Homepage

    Very few countries didn't accept the UN findings on climate change, China and India both did for instance. Now in terms of signing up to doing something then that is a tougher argument, but getting people to agree on the problem was the first step and there the UN did well.

    On Healthcare, you are right the US might have a different opinion. Most other countries would think that having the highest per capita spend on healthcare and having lower life expectancy, 700,000 people a year forced into bankruptcy and 1/6th of the population not even covered is a bad thing. I mean some mad people might think that a system where you ended up paying less, covering everyone and increasing average life-expectancy was better... but unfortunately those systems don't deliver 30% profits to insurance companies, which is of course the american way (apparently).

  • Re:Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 5KVGhost (208137) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @02:06PM (#29596655)

    Exactly. And even as it's now envisioned, the multinational committees will likely be stocked with the same luminaries of free speech that sit on the Security Council. And it'll go far beyond just making new domain names. After all, someone has to enforce who is allowed to which TLDs, right?

    Frankly, I don't give a damn what China, Lybia or Iran think when it comes to running the Internet. And, if it comes to that, I don't want things like the German, French, or Canadian "hate speech" laws going international either. That sort of feel-good censorship can be even worse than the jackbooted variety, as the authorities choke off dissent while insisting it's all for our own good.

    Honestly, I can't understand how any serious observer of world affairs, whatever you may personally think of the United States, can maintain that UN control is preferable to the current system. Not by any standard.

  • by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @02:12PM (#29596727)
    You wanting it modded up because you agree with it is no better than modding it down for disagreement. It was modded down because he says Americans are all stupid and raises issues completely unrelated to the topic as "evidence". That's flamebait. Funny how the "terminally stupid" laid the whole foundation for the internet in the first place which is why everybody whines about how the US controls it.
  • Re:Ya Censorship! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tokolosh (1256448) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @02:12PM (#29596733)

    The nub of the issue is how to harden the internet against the vagaries of mob rule, special interests, fads and knees jerking. At the same time to embed freedom in such a way that the usual suspects can't dilute it, even if they try.

    Whatever you might think of the USA, there is no other country in the world that could have delivered the internet in its current form, with its openness and freedoms.

    However, that does not mean that the USA will remain a good custodian forever, so some insurance against future (current?) loss of liberty is appropriate.

    I don't believe national governments or the UN are the answer, but am struggling to propose an alternative.

  • Re:UN slow? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hadlock (143607) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @02:14PM (#29596765) Homepage Journal

    Google "UN Nuclear inspections stalled again" or "UN sanctions unenforced" or...
     
    Don't get me wrong, the UN provides a useful dialogue for nations, but as for it's capacity to deal with and defuse major international crises, it's difficult to point to any situation where they weren't almost completely impotent to the crisis at hand.

  • Re:No! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eln (21727) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @02:16PM (#29596793) Homepage
    But it IS broke. ICANN regularly makes decisions based entirely on its ability to make money from them, even though it's supposed to be a non-profit organization. It has little regard for what its decisions mean for the long-term health of the Internet, and it's consistently espoused policies (such as domain tasting and ultra-cheap domain names) that make life easier for spammers and scammers at the expense of regular Internet users. It's also vastly increased the gTLD space for no apparent reason other than to generate more registrations, and therefore more money in its pocket. I don't know if a worldwide consortium could do any better trying to fulfill ICANN's charter, but it certainly couldn't do any worse.
  • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @02:17PM (#29596797) Journal

    While he went a big aggressive with the saying, he does have a good point. I still dont undersant why ICANN is fully-usa company and has control over all of the internet, while it spawns over all of the countries.

  • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@gma ... minus herbivore> on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @02:21PM (#29596847) Homepage
    As an EU citizen I'm happy and even surprised to see this happening - US actually caring about other people too

    Considering the history of Europe in the 20th century, as an EU citizen you should be one of the last people to be "surprised" at the US helping others.
  • by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @02:26PM (#29596927)
    If my network is so awesome that my neighbor wants to spend his own money and time to connect to it that does not give him any rights or entitlements over what still remains my network. Why is that Americans seem to be the only ones who can grasp basic ethical constructs like this? Oh, that's right, because we design everything and the rest of the world just whines about how they're entitled to our work.
  • Re:No! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot&hackish,org> on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @02:34PM (#29597053)

    If anything, freeing ICANN from US government control, and moving it to nebulous control of some squabbling mess of countries, seems like it'll have the opposite effect: give ICANN carte blanche to do whatever it wants.

  • by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @02:35PM (#29597069)
    You do know that the opinion of other countries like China, Bahrain, Burma, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, North AND South Korea, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, UAE, Yemen, etc. is 'censor it for any reason that might potentially undermine the state or social norms.' Yeah, we really need their input.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @02:38PM (#29597123)

    The best argument here is the US constitution and the first amendment. Despite attempts at censor or block or mess with things those attempts get canceled out and reversed once the court gets involved. What do you think China's views on a wide open internet are? How many other countries have that type of protection?

  • Re:UN slow? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SBrach (1073190) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @02:46PM (#29597245)
    Half of that 1/6th make over 50 grand a year and 1/4 of that 1/6th are foreign nationals. I, along with many Americans, do not believe in forcing insurance on people who can afford it but don't want it. I also don't see why we should pay for citizens of other countries. That leaves around 10 million people who are not covered and make less than 50 thousand a year. Sounds like we need to expand state and federal aid to include these people rather than turn over the entire apple cart and force socialized medicine down everyones throats. Another fun fact is 80% of Americans are happy with the health care they currently have. As far as the paying less....what percentage do you pay in income taxes again?
  • by Grimbleton (1034446) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @02:59PM (#29597417)

    Do you also feel that other countries should take over parts of Walmart? McDonalds? Any other US companies you feel your country deserves to steal for... whatever reason you pulled out your ass?

  • by rastos1 (601318) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @03:00PM (#29597425) Homepage

    You do know that the opinion of other countries like China, Bahrain, Burma, Cuba,...

    You forgot to list Spain, Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, ... . Why?

  • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@gma ... minus herbivore> on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @03:01PM (#29597443) Homepage
    If my network is so awesome that my neighbor wants to spend his own money and time to connect to it that does not give him any rights or entitlements over what still remains my network. Why is that Americans seem to be the only ones who can grasp basic ethical constructs like this? Oh, that's right, because we design everything and the rest of the world just whines about how they're entitled to our work.

    Well said. Just quoting and posting at +2 so more people can see it before we both get modded down to -2.
  • Re:NOT GOOD ENOUGH (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @03:13PM (#29597585) Journal
    We'll just give 100% regulatory control to North Korea then... better than the US.
  • by Shakrai (717556) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @03:19PM (#29597619) Journal

    Because the UN has done such an upstanding job at managing everything else. Why if it wasn't for the UN we might have seen genocides in Africa wherein millions of innocent people died. We might see countries like Libya sitting on human rights commissions. We might see aggressive states like Iran and North Korea flaunting international law and getting away with it.

    Yep, the UN is a fine upstanding institution. We should hand the keys to the internet over to them. What could possibly go wrong?

  • by Archfeld (6757) * <treboreel@live.com> on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @03:19PM (#29597623) Journal

    ICANN is barely functional with a heavy government hand on oversight. Do you imagine that group of idiots is going to do ANYTHING but line their own pockets without that oversight. The Golden Age of Domain squatting is just about to begin. ICANN will be re-allocating domains based on donations to their pockets within 6 months of them being un-regulated. Any chance the average joe had of winning a dispute against a corporate entity is going out the window as we speak...

  • by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @03:35PM (#29597801) Homepage

    ... because it seems a better option than to have China, Iran, ... have an over 50% say in how it's run. Obviously.

  • Re:UN slow? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by value_added (719364) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @04:38PM (#29598553)

    Half of that 1/6th make over 50 grand a year and 1/4 of that 1/6th are foreign nationals.

    You think an insurance plan purchased on the open market by an individual is affordable? Here's a hint: most small business owners make similar amounts and simply can't afford insurance for themselves, their spouses, or their families, and most definitely not for their employees.

    I, along with many Americans, do not believe in forcing insurance on people who can afford it but don't want it.

    So who cares? Similar knee-jerk reactions are found by people objecting to property taxes, income taxes, and public schools. If you're so short-sighted as to not understand that pooled efforts (aside from being the epitome of fairness), reduce costs for everyone, then there's no hope for you. Go live somewhere where the public doesn't subsidise much of your day-to-day existence.

    I also don't see why we should pay for citizens of other countries.

    Yeah, I don't have kids, and my house hasn't caught fire, so why the fuck do I have to pay taxes to pay for the fire deparment and public schools for all those snot nosed kids trampling my lawn?

    You seem to blissfully oblivious to the fact that it's not uncommon in foreign countries that foreigners (selfish Americans included) are covered for free. By that standard, your views could be characterised as those of a selfish asshole.

    Sounds like we need to expand state and federal aid to include these people rather than turn over the entire apple cart and force socialized medicine down everyones throats.

    You use the term "socialised medicine", but obiously have no understanding what that means. Didja know that the Canadian, British, Japanese and French systems, for example, are all dramatically different? To the extent "socialised" is some vague, hand-wavy term that the government is involved, then we already have it. The Veterans Administration and Medicare. People screamed "Socialism!" when Medicare was enacted and Ronald Reagan predicted the demise of the US. Now, those Americans scream just as loudly at those who try and take it away or make changes to it.

    Another fun fact is 80% of Americans are happy with the health care they currently have.

    Fun and useless. 80% of those declaring bankruptcy due to health care costs have health insurance. You'd think those groups would be aware of each other. Either way, I'm sure that if polled, more than 80% of Microsoft Windows users would state they are similarly satisfied. Tells you absolutely nothing, but does suggest most people simply don't know what they they're talking about.

    Like you.

  • by Jesus_666 (702802) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @04:58PM (#29598799)
    So I take it HTML doesn't exist, then, as that wasn't really designed in America.

    Besides, if you follow the "this is MY network and you do with it as I please" line of thought, the logical conclusion would be for the EU, China, India etc. all running their own DNS roots, complete with their own registrars etc. So unless you register your website with ten different registrars (or pay ten times the fee to your registrar), only people within your country and maybe a few bordering them can see it. Hilarity ensues when yourcompany.com is registered to two different organizations on various DNS roots. Or when they deicde they don't really need a compatible IP address space. While not being able to talk to China doesn't seem dramatic now, China is rapidly rising in importance.

    In short, if you had wanted to make the internet your network, you should've worked harder to keep the rest of the world out. Apparently that wasn't what was intended.
  • Re:Yes We CANN! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @06:31PM (#29599727)
    Funny how nobody complains about those bases or the force projection of aircraft carriers when they're the first line of emergency assistance in major disasters like the 2004 tsunami.
  • by infolation (840436) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @09:31PM (#29600951)
    In case people don't read that entire text, a salient point it makes is:

    An adult top-level domain could have negative legal repercussions by endangering free expression... ...Privacy could be harmed by such a proposal. It would become easier for repressive governments and other institutions to track visits to sites in a domain labeled as adult and record personally-identifiable information about the visitor. Repressive governments would instantly have more power to monitor naive users and prosecute them for their activities.

  • by rs79 (71822) <hostmaster@open-rsc.org> on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @11:14PM (#29601543) Homepage

    "Moving the control to international platform where also other advanced democratic countries can balance out totalitarian undemocratic countries is a step in the right direction."

    Modulo the bloody obvious which is that government doesn't need to be in the loop in the first place. It's not liked they helped build it and knew what they were doing, ney, the DoC in charge of this now are the same bunch that mandated OSI protocols when talking to the government. When the Internet had reached near ubiquity and OSI still didn't have any networking code they relaxed that rule.

    Now these guys are in charge of ICANN and jus handed the keys to an unelected bunnch of clueless government wonks who are already being lobbied hard by the trademark people, one of the most powerful lobbies in America... and the ones that don't leave fingerprints.

  • by Xest (935314) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @03:59AM (#29602869)

    Yes, and there's an awful lot of other countries that don't want censorship.

    Changes need consensus in international organisations, this is a stupid argument, because you'd never get international consensus on this sort of thing so it wouldn't happen.

    Whilst you have one country controlling it however, you get shit like this:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20081020/0058002578.shtml [techdirt.com]

    http://radar.oreilly.com/2008/02/us-judge-censors-wikileaksorg.html [oreilly.com]

    Yes that's right, judges in single US courts being able to unilaterally order the effective take down of overseas sites for which they should have no jurisdiction over whatsoever.

    Don't try and pretend the countries you list would magically get their way over Western nations if control was shared, and don't try and pretend the US has never done anything wrong whilst in control of the internet.

    When you have opposing views sharing power, stupid ideas get blocked indefinitely so the sort of situation in the above two articles would never happen, neither would censorship. Stuff like security issues that need urgent attention would get passed because everyone would agree they're a problem.

    Effectively just as in hung or proportionally represented governments, the only stuff that gets blocked is controversal shit that half the people don't want, the only stuff that gets through is stuff that's agreeable to everyone. That's much better all round than having a single entity unilaterally imposing bad ideas on everyone else.

  • Re:Prediction (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xest (935314) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @04:48AM (#29603099)

    Why do you assume it'll be the security council that'll get involved rather than say the International Telecommunication Union?

    What's that? You didn't realise the UN already does pretty much what ICANN does in another area very successfully?

    "Frankly, I don't give a damn what China, Lybia or Iran think when it comes to running the Internet. And, if it comes to that, I don't want things like the German, French, or Canadian "hate speech" laws going international either. That sort of feel-good censorship can be even worse than the jackbooted variety, as the authorities choke off dissent while insisting it's all for our own good."

    But you think it's okay for a single US state to be able to impose censorship for our own good I suppose?

    http://www.freepress.net/node/45158 [freepress.net]

    Eventually the appeals court realised this was stupid and overturned it, but the fact is a single judge in a single state of the US whilst US has full control of ICANN could censor whatever they wanted and did so for a damaging period of time for a web based business, and they did. More than once:

    http://radar.oreilly.com/2008/02/us-judge-censors-wikileaksorg.html [oreilly.com]

    http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2008/03/us-interferes-with-travel-to-cuba.ars [arstechnica.com]

    "Honestly, I can't understand how any serious observer of world affairs, whatever you may personally think of the United States, can maintain that UN control is preferable to the current system. Not by any standard."

    Your answer lies above, it is because any "serious observer of world affairs" who is not ignorant to the reality of US control of ICANN realises it's been doing a really, really bad job in recent years with everything from gTLDs to censorship of foreign domain names being.

    I guess you weren't aware of what ICANN has done wrong in recent years which is fair enough, but if you're going to defend an organisation and speculate on what an alternative organisation would do wrong, you should at least make sure the organisation you're defending wasn't guilty of doing exactly what you're so concerned about- censorship.

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