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Government The Internet United States Communications Network Networking The Courts Politics Your Rights Online

Transfer of Internet Governance Will Go Ahead On Oct. 1 (computerworld.com) 155

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Computerworld: The U.S. says it will proceed with its plan to hand over oversight of the internet's domain name system functions to a multistakeholder body on Oct. 1. Computerworld reports: "The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), under contract with the U.S. Department of Commerce, operates the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) which enables the operation of the internet domain name system (DNS). These include responsibility for the coordination of the DNS root, IP addressing and other internet protocol resources. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency within the Commerce Department, said in March 2014 that it planned to let its contract with ICANN expire on Sept. 30, 2015, passing the oversight of the functions to a global governance model. NTIA made it clear that it would not accept a plan from internet stakeholders that would replace its role by that of a government-led or intergovernmental organization or would in any way compromise the openness of the internet. The transfer was delayed to September as the internet community needed more time to finalize the plan for the transition. The new stewardship plan submitted by ICANN was approved by the NTIA in June. NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling said Tuesday that the agency had informed ICANN that 'barring any significant impediment,' NTIA intends to allow the IANA functions contract it has with ICANN to expire as of Oct. 1, said Strickling, who is also assistant secretary for communications and information."
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Transfer of Internet Governance Will Go Ahead On Oct. 1

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Gondor had a better stewardship.

  • Much rejoicing... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mi ( 197448 ) <slashdot-2016q1@virtual-estates.net> on Wednesday August 17, 2016 @06:11PM (#52722067) Homepage Journal
    So, on October 2nd the countries, where it is Ok to block the entire populace [wikipedia.org] from foreign Internet-resources, where "hate speech" [thenewamerican.com], "blasphemy" [voanews.com], and mocking the president [euronews.com] or king [bbc.com] are criminal offences — they will all have more say in how the network is operated than before. Yay!
    • by ITRambo ( 1467509 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2016 @06:14PM (#52722081)
      Your sarcasm deserves many up-votes. because it's all too true.
      • As long as the new ICANN Overlords continue to graciously grant me access to Slashdot from my basement, I will be happy.

      • What's the alternative? It's wrong to give up US dominance, and it's wrong to not give up US dominance, so...? We certainly do not have a good record of fair and impartial governance from the US, but neither do international bodies, so it's a toss up. Keep US dominance if you're a jingoist, or accept that commerce is an international concern and so the internet should be governed by international bodies just the same as other areas of commerce.

        • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

          We certainly do not have a good record of fair and impartial governance from the US...

          Can you point to any instances of IANA policy or decision making to substantiate this claim? Keep in mind that you need enough to form a trend that would indicate a bad record.

          I won't hold my breath waiting for a reply, but I hope you hold yours while you look. Don't stop looking until you find some.

          • Re:Much rejoicing... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Coren22 ( 1625475 ) on Thursday August 18, 2016 @09:45AM (#52724747) Journal

            Did you actually read what was written in the post you responded to?

            Darinbob was talking about the record of the US as a whole in fair and impartial governance, not ICANN or IANA. ICANN has its issues, but for whatever reason, the Internet has been able to remain above politics in the US.

            It is the massive number of countries calling for censorship that are really asking the US to give up governance. The first thing I expect will be regulated will be porn. Russia would rule that all gay porn should be outlawed, while the Muslim countries all agree, meaning half the world would vote to outlaw gay porn. The Muslim countries will feel that is not enough, all porn should be banned, as it is all sinful in their eyes. Pretty soon, porn is not allowed on the public internet.

            This is what we have to look forward to. After all, the famous quote starts "First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist." First it will be gay rights, which is a touchy subject in most of the world, but it won't stop there, who will speak out?

            • by Agripa ( 139780 )

              The first thing I expect will be regulated will be porn. Russia would rule that all gay porn should be outlawed, while the Muslim countries all agree, meaning half the world would vote to outlaw gay porn. The Muslim countries will feel that is not enough, all porn should be banned, as it is all sinful in their eyes. Pretty soon, porn is not allowed on the public internet.

              And how will that be enforced? Revoking domain names?

              That will be fun; it is time to implement an alternative to domain names anyway and of course porn will lead the way.

    • "NTIA’s responsibility includes the procedural role of administering changes to the authoritative root zone file – the database containing the lists of names and addresses of all top-level domains – as well as serving as the historic steward of the DNS."

      I'm not sure if this will suddenly lead to the "blocking" of "undesirable" content.

    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      I though the transfer was away from the US Government.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You mean the US, where none of those things are happening. Don't worry, you Belgians will get to extend your censorship and hate speech laws to the internet soon.

    • Look at the bright side, it could speed up the obsolescence of DNS and maybe the whole server/client setup and actually make the internet more robust against censorship. Ad hoc networking could become ubiquitous and make the ISP a useless antique. That would definitely be a good thing.

      • Riiight. Handing it over to a committee of committees will speed things up.

        • Yes, more people will become more interested in circumvention. A whole new system that can't be brought down by vested interests may emerge. The survival of worldwide computer networking will depend on it.

      • "make the ISP a useless antique"

        Ah, the magic wires argument. Sure.

    • Re:Much rejoicing... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cryptizard ( 2629853 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2016 @07:25PM (#52722469)
      No, not really. If you read the article you would find out that control is transitioning to multinational private sector stakeholders, so in reality Google, Amazon, Apple, etc. will have more say.
    • Sad to admit but I have to agree with you. I suspect this 'multistakeholder body' will be about as honest, forthright, and organized as the IOC, FIFA, or your average South American or North African junta government.

      We don't like Google, so we'll just arbitrarily reassign their IP addresses to someone we like

      We unanimously decided that the world is better off without pornography (as we define it, naturally, LOL) so we're cancelling the domains for all their websites -- for the children, of course!

      Ah well, the Internet was becoming too much of a mess anyway. Better start funding public libraries again!

    • by ChromeAeonium ( 1026952 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2016 @07:34PM (#52722517)

      I absolutely agree. In theory, one would think that the internet, being a global phenomenon, should be treated as such with no one nation having control. In practice, we have other countries bending over backwards to justify their anti-freedom of speech actions, and that's not okay. I'm not going to say that America is perfect...far from it, and in many many ways...but when it comes to freedom of speech, there's really no one even close.

      I keep seeing these stories about how this or another person got fined or arrested for saying the wrong thing, a lot in Europe lately, and I see people defending this as completely acceptable, arguing that they still have freedom of speech, just that freedom of speech does not include unpopular sentiment that they disagree with. Saying unpopular, unsavory, or downright asshole-ish things is the exact definition of freedom of speech. The idea does not exist to defend popular ideas, it exists to ensure that everyone, even people who might be downright wrong or mean, get a voice. There are places where if I say the Holocaust did not happen (wrong and hateful), sing a song about how Erdoan is a scull fucking douchebag (honest and accurate), or reject the state's religion or political ideology (every individual's choice), among plenty of other things, I could face legal consequences.

      And regardless of how you feel about any of those things, you don't get to take away another person's voice. There are ideas that I consider to be extremely dangerous and actively harming people and the planet but that I argue against them; doesn't mean I get to censor them. Speech is a human right, and that's end of the goddamn story. Recent events continue to show that not everyone agrees, and now they get greater control over the worlds most important communication medium? I don't like that. They say they will not compromise openness on the internet, but this is in a world where censorship in the name of 'preserving dignity,' whatever the hell that's supposed to mean, is argued to be not a violation of the human right to free speech; I ask them to lay out clear guidelines for openness. Like I said, America isn't perfect, but on this issue I trust the US a hell of a lot more than I do any other country.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        While the US might have strong freedom of speech protections, it has extremely poor copyright laws. Some of the worst in the world, in fact. It's particularly unsatisfactory that US authorities control and can seize non-country specific TLDs like .com, .net and .org. If your site operates legally within your country, but annoys the MAFFIA, your domain can be taken by the US government, and that's just the start of it.

        The US also has extremely poor privacy laws. It's less of an issue with IP numbers and DNS,

        • US authorities control and can seize non-country specific TLDs like .com, .net and .org.

          Those are country specific, they have always been US domains, not worldwide domains. There is also the .us domain, but .com, .net, .org, .gov have always been US TLDs.

      • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Thursday August 18, 2016 @05:22AM (#52724059)

        "Like I said, America isn't perfect, but on this issue I trust the US a hell of a lot more than I do any other country."

        But this in itself is just nationalist patriotism, the US has a long history of censorship on the internet via things like ICE domain seizures, which unlike, say, China's censorship, enforce censorship globally to every country, not just the country engaging in censorship (the US).

        If you believe in single country stewardship if that country would offer better protections than any other then it's nonsensical to favour the US over many others. If you're going for single country stewardship then why not go for a country that has a much better track record on political neutrality, political transparency, and freedom, such as Sweden, Switzerland, New Zealand or similar?

        Personally I think single country stewardship is a bad idea though regardless, in Asia there is censorship over blasphemy, Europe it's holocaust denial, in South America it's criticising government, and in North America it's defying the copyright cartels. All-country stewardship where changes can only occur based on 100% consensus is the only way to really protect free speech on the internet because that way you get all the benefits of the US veto you have currently but with the added advantage of countries like Russia and China being willing to block US copyright censorship.

        Long story short though, there is no rational reason to prefer US single country stewardship if you believe in freedom and openness of the internet, and if you do so then it's because you're letting nationalism take priority over the things you're professing to want to protect. That is, when you say you trust the US more, what you're saying is "I want our guys to retain control, even if that means a bit of censorship" - you're arguing in favour of US control and NOT freedom from censorship, because the US already engages in that in a manner that effects everyone across the globe, not just those inside it's borders.

        Really, if the US were a good steward of internet freedom then rather than engaging in global censorship via domain seizures it would set up it's own Chinese style great firewall and just block it's own citizens from accessing those sites it finds offensive such that it's politics remains only a problem for it's own people, and not censorship for every single person on the planet, including the 7billion+ that live outside of it's borders.

        • It's not that most of what you are saying is wrong, but when you say

          Personally I think single country stewardship is a bad idea though regardless, in Asia there is censorship over blasphemy, Europe it's holocaust denial, in South America it's criticising government, and in North America it's defying the copyright cartels. All-country stewardship where changes can only occur based on 100% consensus is the only way to really protect free speech on the internet because that way you get all the benefits of the US veto you have currently but with the added advantage of countries like Russia and China being willing to block US copyright censorship.

          you should be aware that Europe will need to get their holocaust denial thing in so they'll abstain when South American Government Slander thing goes up for a vote, and of course for Russia to get their gay porn banned they'll have to go along with US copyright censorship and by the time all of the horse trading is done we'll end up with not the best of all out comes but the worse.

          • by Xest ( 935314 )

            Actually I completely agree that there are some arguments for US single country stewardship and you're right, removing that risk scenario is absolutely one of them, my argument was simply that freedom of speech isn't an argument for US stewardship because it already enforces worse censorship on the net than any other country because US censorship is applied to all 7.4 billion people in the world, whereas even Chinese censorship only hits their 1.3 billion own citizens.

            Though as I say I personally don't real

      • I keep seeing these stories about how this or another person got fined or arrested for saying the wrong thing, a lot in Europe lately, and I see people defending this as completely acceptable, arguing that they still have freedom of speech, just that freedom of speech does not include unpopular sentiment that they disagree with

        I prefer racist asshats to spend time in jail than a well mannered and good contributor to society having their life royally screwed up for daring to download a shitty music album.

        Yes there is a better way to govern people online.
        No I don't think the US is a good model regardless of how good your right to hate speech ... err I mean free speech laws are.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Speech is a human right, and that's end of the goddamn story.
        Except when it's not, like provoking illegal acts, grooming children for pedophile networks, libel, insider trading, ...

        There are LOTS of things you're not allowed to say or do.

        As for trusting the USA? Sort out your political corruption and election-rigging, adhere to the ICC, then let's talk about "trust".
        For many of us, out here in the rest of the world, you have too many moneyed and unprincipled scum running around out of control for us to uni

    • So, on October 2nd the countries, where it is Ok to block the entire populace from foreign Internet-resources, where "hate speech", "blasphemy", and mocking the president or king are criminal offences â" they will all have more say in how the network is operated than before. Yay!

      Correct - what has for a few decades been a de facto international institution will no longer be wholly owned by just one nation, which actually constitutes an increment in democracy. So, I think your rant is misplaced. Firstly, America is not suddenly being put outside the door without influence, and I suspect this is just a formalisation of what is already happening - I'm sure ICANN has for years consulted other major players on the internet about their policies, so the difference is probably not all that

  • by npslider ( 4555045 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2016 @06:12PM (#52722071)

    The NSA still owns all the Internet's anyways. :)

  • Queue the fracture (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Archfeld ( 6757 ) <treboreel@live.com> on Wednesday August 17, 2016 @06:13PM (#52722077) Journal

    I predict we'll see a split of the internet along international lines shortly thereafter. Under the laws of each nation certain content will be unacceptable and each domain will begin by censoring those that interfere with their personal political agenda's on how things should be represented. Within a year half the net will not 'see' the other half and business and commerce will stutter and survive in certain regions and fail in others.

    • Canada!!!

      Yes, I'm talking to you.

      I'm your upstairs neighbor. Don't you go blocking my Facebooks!

      Good.

      Now that I have settled that, I can sleep easy tonight.

    • by ADRA ( 37398 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2016 @06:25PM (#52722149)

      Its always been the case that anyone with enough determination could make a new internet that does the exact same thing as the current one but maintained by themselves. If someone wants to jump the shark and break compatibility, companies and countries will decide on whom to follow.

      If you think the internet has lasted decades purely because of US based custodianship, then strap on your tin foil hat because every story about interruptions/censorship/shaping/etc.. will now be coloured by this rather non-story forever afterwards.

      • by Archfeld ( 6757 )

        I'd strap on my 'tinfoil' hat but I can't get tinfoil anymore. It has been replaced by aluminum foil and that isn't effective.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I really hope so.
      The rest of the cheap outsourcing world can tell us to fuck ourselves. We're cut off.
      Then US will experience a boom time again while the previously outsourced countries have civil war trying to figure out why things got bad.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In a way, that has already happened.

      The Great Firewall of China.

      Large swaths of the middle east blocking social networking they disagree with.

      The USA going after online gambling sites and TPB.

      Countries in South America blocking online games.

      Countries in Europe clamping down on encryption.

      North Korea where only a few high ranking party members are permitted to use it at all.

      You're probably right that it will accelerate in the future, but we haven't had one internet for a long time. We had in our grasp the a

      • The Hamiltonians created conditions for as powerful a government as possible to interfere in people's lives. They've had plenty of time to refine it and now we've got the worst of the worst contending for a position that never should have existed in the first place. It's not too late to fix that and it's not too late to fix what should have been done with the internet and networking in general.
    • Fracturing the Internet is a lot harder than you might think. You might want to look up something called, "Internet protocol version 8". The basic idea of IPv8 is that the results of the call to getHostByName() is not actually the address of the machine in question. Instead, it is a magic cookie that can be used to reach the machine in question. The entire Internet is actually divided at special routers, called Stargates; if you are talking to a machine on the other side of a Stargate, then the magic cookie

  • by sdguero ( 1112795 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2016 @06:33PM (#52722201)
    Just the other day I was talking with an older German lady at a community council meeting. We were discussing about all the global problems we are having right now and she was waxxing poetic about Chinese an Russian hacking activities on the web. I reassured her that as long as DNS is under US government control, we holds the keys as far as global internet abuse and censorship. Welp I guess that's over.

    Seriously, we should not have given this up.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Another example of the current US administration actively working to water down the United States role in the world. Their motto - 'No country is special'.
      While not perfect, my country has defended freedom, its people voluntarily sacrificed their lives, given hope and freedom to, in summation, close to a Billion people. When you have a solid democracy, a strong method to defend the weak and a good moral compass evil is kept in check.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by cryptizard ( 2629853 )
        That is some serious whitewashing of history. Almost none of that is true. We don't have a democracy, we have a federal republic. Even in principle, if you want to argue that we have a representative democracy and the people's will is carried out indirectly, many laws passed these days do not have popular support. Also, where is this supposed strong moral compass? We haven't done anything for anyone that didn't help us first in quite a long time.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by cryptizard ( 2629853 )
      Why should the US get to control the internet? Internet access was declared by the UN to be a basic human right. It should not be controlled by one nation. We don't even have a particularly good record of internet freedom anyway.
      • by balbeir ( 557475 )

        Why should the US get to control the internet? Internet access was declared by the UN to be a basic human right. It should not be controlled by one nation. We don't even have a particularly good record of internet freedom anyway.

        Yeah, what have the romans ever done for us ?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Why should the US get to control the internet?

        They have had it so far and look what happened. Without that stewardship the internet, which you are using right now, would not exist. Things can only go down from here when we transfer that control to every tin-pot dictator the world over.

        • by cryptizard ( 2629853 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2016 @07:54PM (#52722627)
          First off, control is not really being "transferred" which you would know if you read any of the articles about this. ICANN is still doing the same job it was before, effectively controlled by the same people that controlled it before. It will just not have the US Government looking over it's shoulder the whole time. The power is in the hands of the board of directors, who are, surprise, industry IT people. Not the Shah of Iran. Executives from Time Warner Cable, Google, etc. Nothing will change. Aren't people here usually AGAINST the US Government controlling things it has no business controlling?

          Second, what kind of "stewardship" do you think they are actually doing? The internet was formed almost entirely by private corporations. The government had a hand in getting the ball rolling, but it is a long leap to say that without the US government we would not have the internet today.
          • You're right, Slashdot is populated entirely by people who want more corporate control over the internet. You think Netflix had it rough with transferring a lot of data, wait until private companies take over the domain name registration.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by sdguero ( 1112795 )
        I suggest you and the UN read up on internet history before making demands about who should control it. Giving up control to a conglomerate made up of nations that have actively censored the web in their countries in the past seems like a far worse option that keeping things the way they are now.
        • by cryptizard ( 2629853 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2016 @08:35PM (#52722801)
          Says you. There are 7 billion people on the planet and almost all of them don't live in the US. Besides, as I've written elsewhere, control is not going to other nations. Rather it is going to the board of directors of ICANN, which is made up of private industry executives. Control is going to TIme Warner Cable, Google, etc. Do you really thing ICANN is going to be run by Iran or North Korea or something?
          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            The US only has control as long as other nations tolerate it. If the US ever gets too heavy handed or doesn't act fairly, other nations will just fork DNS. They have more people, US companies will work with them to ensure that disney.cn and amazon.fr keep working in those markets.

            The split is inevitable one day. The two systems will mirror each other for 99.999% of domains, but disputed ones will differ between competing root servers.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    What have we seen of their stewardship? A cray number of stupid domain names which screech spam and malware, and inflating domain name fees which are disproportionate to their cost of provision: basically rent seeking and profiteering. ICANN is technically non-profit, but it pays out big salaries, nice junkets and favors to industry.

    "Last week, ICANN said Public Technical Identifiers, a nonprofit public benefit corporation, had been incorporated in California, to eventually run the IANA functions under co
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The internet will route around the problem. If DNS were to completely go away the only things that would happen is the signal to noise ratio would be vastly improved and some apps will break.

    DNS was only created for human comfort.

    • ICANN also controls allocation of blocks of IP addresses in addition to DNS. But yeah I agree with your sentiment, if one day they turned evil for some reason, people would find alternatives.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    To quote the 44th president of the United States. "Elections have consequences", "I won".

  • $10 Says... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2016 @10:39PM (#52723225)

    $10 says that the US and most of the West will *deeply* regret this within a year at most.

    Strat

  • Oh fuck this is not good. Really not good. I have no words, didn't hear about this coming. May have more words later after I have time to think about it. But this is not good.

    • This has been planned for over two years. Don't you think if it were really a big deal that you would have heard someone yelling about it by now? It is just bureaucratic shift, nothing will change. Even if ICANN suddenly goes "evil", the internet is too big and too decentralized for it to be "the end" of anything.
  • That will take time to reveal.
  • This part of the article is interesting:

    "Last week, 25 advocacy groups asked Congress to sue to enforce riders it passed on prohibiting spending of taxpayer money on the IANA transition"

    Did Congress get a say-so in letting go of control initially? If riders were added to it, then that tells me that they agreed to handing over control at some point (with conditions). When did this happen?

  • First t6eh Panama Canal and now ICANN.
  • How long before the Europeans try to tell everyone they invented it.

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