Sunday, October 09, 2005

Thank Gawd for Europe

Well, here's a development:

The Guardian (UK) reports, in an article tellingly headlined Breaking America's Grip on the Net, that "after troubled negotiations in Geneva, the US may be forced to relinquish control of the internet to a coalition of governments."

The story goes on to report that by the end of the negotiations, "the EU had decided to end the US government's unilateral control of the internet and put in place a new body that would now run this revolutionary communications medium."

Yup. The Internets is looking like it might finally change into something that's ... not completely (maybe even not at all) under the control of the U.S. Gummint.

I'll be interested to see the "Libertarian" (sic) reaction to this proposal, considering the EU's stated goal that "governments will only be involved where they need to be and only on issues setting the top-level framework" ...

My guess is, in spite of the clearly libertarian (small L) intention of the move, groups like Cato Institute will howl. Watch C-SPAN ... or tune in to a right-wing radio show near you (thanks, Clear Channel!) to hear much angry and ugly gnashing of teeth in the near future.

And then go here to feel better.



At 10/09/2005 2:28 PM, Blogger Algernon said...

I wasn't aware the "internet" (whatever it is) was up for .... reallocation? I had thought "it" (is there a "there" there?) was a worldwide logical structure for digital data movement based on standards and protocols (that was once in the purvue of the u.s. gummint).

well, dangit, why cain't we jes control the world? it's mostly ours anyways, ain't it?

At 10/13/2005 1:16 AM, Blogger tess said...

Interesting, isn't it? The fabrication that the Internet is an independent, world-wide, purely technical entity. Nurp. It's descended from ARPANet, and Gawd knows what that stood for (OK, I know, I could look it up, but I don't feel like it) ... an infrastructure that was, if I recall correctly, meant to insure that U.S. weapons targeting information would stay accessible after a nuclear first strike or some such. I think of it as the data equivalent to the 1950s highway projects that to us as kids meant "road trip" but to the government meant "supply and troop movement corridor".

Anyway. Turns out we still own the top level organization that runs the whole dang thing (not just protocols, but actual hardware and software and controlling entities).

What I find most fascinating about this news story, though, is that it seems as if there is truly some inherent power in the Internet's global reach and democratic character, because lo and behold, it is about to escape from the grip of its creator. (Anyone up for a good Frankenstein metaphor?)


At 11/16/2005 3:49 AM, Blogger tess said...

Sadly, 'tis not to be (at least for now ... though the opposition does not seem to be defeated, merely picking its battles ...)

US retains hold of the internet - BBC News


At 12/04/2005 1:15 PM, Blogger tess said...

According to this article about a letter allegedly from Condoleezza Rice to the EU, Condi very undiplomatically turned the screws on them vis a vis the idea of an intergovernmental oversight body for the Internets. Oh well.



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