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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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  • LOLINTERNET (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @12:06PM (#29595799)

    ICANN HAZ DOMAIN?

  • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @12:09PM (#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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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.

      • 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.

        Ideally, we'd want to set up some sort of committee, and pack it with so many members that they can never agree on anything, so they never get to the stage where they decide to control or censor something for "greater good". UN sounds like a perfect foundation for this kind of thing.

        • by Jesus_666 (702802)
          Yeah, and then they have to discuss something actually useful and things like IPv6 won't get used for more than a decade after it's been introduced. Wait...
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by tverbeek (457094)

      This isn't just taking control away from the US government, it's putting that control more firmly into the hands of a private organization. "International" doesn't automatically mean "better" (witness the WTO and IMF). All it means is that US citizens will be just as easily ignored as EU, AU, OAS, ASEAN, and ETC citizens are today.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by R2.0 (532027)

      Aside from your blatant paternalism (the US has existed a lot longer than the EU has), you're happiness translates to me as "Good - now the EU can have a shot at exerting control."

      As a US citizen, I'm completely unsurprised by the EU claiming to care about other people while consolidating power in itself.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nomadic (141991)
      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.
  • speed? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by twotailakitsune (1229480) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @12:14PM (#29595909)
    Have you seen how slow the UN is at things. If it was under the UN we would be talking about roll out in the year 2500 if it is put on speed. not that I don't want ICANN to look at the world, but I just don't want ICANN to slow down just to be under the whole worlds control. If it works great, don't fix it. If it works ok, fix it without braking it, or slowing it down.
    • UN slow? (Score:3, Informative)

      by MosesJones (55544)

      Is the UN really that slow?

      Look at UNHCR which are just about the quickest set of people to react when a disaster strikes

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

      Now what you might mean is that it takes the UN a long time to crack down on other countries who do things that your country doesn't like, that is certainly true. These are the people after all who refused to rush into Iraq, the slow-coaches.

      The UN is a

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by brainboyz (114458)

        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.

        • Re:UN slow? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by MosesJones (55544) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @01:05PM (#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).

          • by Trepidity (597)

            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.

            Isn't this actually the main complaint about the UN? Nobody denies that it's good at getting people to agree on problems. Everyone wants world peace, the eradication of poverty, and so on. The hard part, which the UN has a much more mixed record on, is doing something about it.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by SBrach (1073190)
            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 m
            • I wish I had some mod points... I would like to point out that the aggregate of all taxes paid by U.S. residents is pretty high, including federal income, state income, local/state property and various sales taxes, not to mention the impact of tariffs, excise taxes, and the taxes that are added to any service utilities (cable, water, power etc). One thing that truly infuriates me is when people suggest that we need to raise taxes in this country for anything. We already pay far too much, and don't see nea

            • Re:UN slow? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by value_added (719364) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @03:38PM (#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.

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

              Because they are humans no matter what country they come from and should be offered decent health care. I don't care if they are benefit thieves (I don't know what the US version is) and haven't paid a penny of tax in their lives I would still quite happily be poorer to offer such a basic human necessity.

            • You know, those foreign nationals who pay taxes in the US may be entitled to receiving a basic service for it. Unless you think there should be first and second class citizens. Most wealthy, civilized countries treat foreigners nicely, and apply most of their rights to every resident. If it's a matter of money, there are ways around it. Spain covers the health care costs of many UK retirees who live on the coast, and right now there is some controversy on why the UK is not paying enough for this service, bu

          • People keep mentioning that statistic about spending more for lower life expectancy, but it's kind of bullshit.
            http://reason.com/news/show/135458.html [reason.com]

            The US's lower life expectancy has nothing to do with its healthcare being poor, and everything to do with our having 2x as many car accidents and 12x as many homicides as most of the western world. You factor that out and the US actually has a higher life expectancy.

            We also spend more on elective and cosmetic surgeries, as well as drugs like viagra and prozac

          • by Das Auge (597142)

            Very few countries didn't accept the UN findings on climate change, China and India both did for instance.

            Do you think that they agreed to readily to it because the associate plan (The Kyoto Protocol) to deal with the problem didn't include them having to do anything?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        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!

      • >>>takes the UN a long time to crack down on other countries who do things that your country doesn't like, that is certainly true.

        So in other words the UN does a lousy job of performing its primary objective - to bring a ceasefire to warring nations via the "war on one member is a war against all members" philosophy. So instead they get into internet regulation. Hmmm - I don't recall reading that in the original charter. (shrug). I always find it amusing how organizations start as ONE thing, fa

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Hadlock (143607)

        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.

  • Can anyone tell me why it costs nearly $10 to register a domain for a year? What is the profit margin on this? Who keeps the profit?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @12:20PM (#29596015)

      It is 4k to apply for a registrars license, then 2500 a year (USD). Then it is .20 cents a domain. Your company must have 70k in working capital and I believe 500k in assets to become a registrar.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by FsG (648587)
        This actually isn't quite true. If you become a com/net registrar, most of the money goes to VeriSign (who controls the com/net registry). The registrar has to pay VeriSign roughly $7 per domain per year that they register. The 20 cents per domain you're thinking of is the ICANN fee, which definitely exists, but isn't the biggest cost. org/info is similar, but the money goes to PIR instead of VeriSign.

        The registrars' profit margin is quite thin.

        Source: http://www.verisign.com/domain-name-services/beco [verisign.com]
    • Can anyone tell me why it costs nearly $10 to register a domain for a year? What is the profit margin on this? Who keeps the profit?

      Well frankly, I profit from not having any domain name I want snapped up as part of a bulk script that buys a thousand names for a penny. Zero cost didn't work out so well for usenet, email and blog comments. What the hell makes you think that the magic of the market is going to find a better solution to the one we have now.

      $10 a year is bargain.

  • I skimmed the article and this looks like it decreases ICANN's accountability to anybody. So when ICANN does something bad, who can hold their feet to the fire to get them to fix it?
    ICANN is an organization composed of human beings, sooner or later it will do something that is evil.
  • No! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geekboybt (866398) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @12:22PM (#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?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by eln (21727)
      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
      • Re:No! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Trepidity (597) <(gro.hsikcah) (ta) (todhsals-muiriled)> on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @01:34PM (#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.

  • Expect to ahve about 100,000 TLD within the next 5 years.

    Plus, who need accountability~

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Yvan256 (722131)

      Oh yeah, I can already see it...
      ---

      Dear client,

      we have been made aware that there might be a problem with your bank account. Please log in and verify your personal informations including credit card numbers and expiration dates.

      You can log in into our secure site at the following address: WWW.BANK.C0M

  • I can only assume the submitter means domain names in other languages. Internet addresses are either decimal (v4) or hexadecimal (v6) numbers.

  • Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by R2.0 (532027) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @12:29PM (#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 y5 (993724) *

      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.

      +1 Insightful. Alas, I have no mod points now. =/

    • by Reziac (43301) *

      I think you are absolutely right. And as a wise AC says somewhere down below:

      "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."

    • Re:Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 5KVGhost (208137) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @01:06PM (#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.

      • You mean like how the ITU act as censors of the telephone network?

        Except they don't.

        • That's like comparing two people on the street to a newspaper. It's virtually impossible to monitor all phone conversations in real time and act instantly on any one of them. It's not at all impossible to crawl the internet and censor at will either decisively or automatically to a filter (and eventually by request to the hosts themselves). Phone censorship is not simply infeasible technically, but individual person to person calls are inconsequential compared to a page that gets millions of hits.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Xest (935314)

        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

  • Oh noes! (Score:2, Funny)

    by neokushan (932374)

    This all sounds like Socialism to me!

  • You must be thinking of a different ICANN. The one I know sold their control some time ago.
  • by ehasbrouck (539420) <edward@hasbrouck.org> on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @12:36PM (#29596227) Homepage
    ICANN's New Commitment to Transparency Arrives Via Secret Process [icannwatch.org] (more background here [hasbrouck.org])
  • For a very brief period of time, ICANN had an amazing group of folks on the board of directors/board of trustees called "at-large" representatives. If they had continued this practice and eliminated the other special interest groups running this incredibly insular board... I might support and even encourage direct U.S. government oversight of this organization.

    As it is, it is a sham of an organization that really doesn't deserve to exist... and got handed the reins of a critical global resource with which

  • Other languages (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @02:01PM (#29597447) Journal
    Support for other languages (RUSSIAN!) in DNS would be excellent, because there'd be about 10000 ways I could represent paypal.com in a visually identical manner (with cyrillic and other such glyph sets), thus making hacking way easier through cheap phishing tricks. I could even get an SSL certificate registered for the fake domain!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Late Adopter (1492849)
      It takes intentional browser support to display such a thing, so wouldn't it also be imaginable that alongside adding that feature browsers would also add a malware warning like a coloration to the address bar? It could even be intelligent to only do that when there's Unicode characters for outside your $LOCALE. I could see Firefox doing that...
    • Re:Other languages (Score:4, Informative)

      by Jesus_666 (702802) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @03:47PM (#29598667)
      Er, you do know that international domain names already exist? Look up the Wikipedia articles on IDNs and Punycode. It's bound to be enlightening.
  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @03:02PM (#29598077) Homepage

    The UN already has the Universal Postal Union [upu.int] and the International Telecommunications Union [itu.int], which do for post offices, telephony, and radio roughly what ICANN does for the Internet. The ITU does a decent job, assigning country codes, negotiating the rules which interconnect phone systems across borders, and keeping radio broadcasters from conflicting. Nobody thinks about the Universal Postal Union much, but the fact that you can mail a letter to almost any country on earth didn't happen by accident.

    Much of what the UN really does is to act as an umbrella organization for the dull and boring mechanics of infrastructure coordination. The diplomatic level gets all the attention, but there's necessary grunt work going on in the background.

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