Internet Governance Conference Opens; U.S. Control of ICANN Still an Issue


As expected, a big push at the U.N.-sponsored conference on the future of the Internet that began today in Greece will be on how much control the U.S. will continue to exert over the future of the the information system that -- forgive our momentary lapse into jingoism -- it invented and built.


But just how much change needs to be enacted in the supervisory structure of the Internet depends on whom you ask.


An EU representative quoted in an AP story today said his organization in largely pleased with the U.S. Commerce Department's announcement that it will relax its influence over ICANN, the organization that controls domain registry on the Net. Commerce has said that over the next three years it will move ICANN toward a model of more international, cooperative management.


Other nations, however, seem more interested in accelerating change in Internet governance, as reflected in a Mumbia Mirror piece that reports the U.S. narrowly avoided a "bruising row" with the international community over the issue. (Of course, this report is largely accurate).


The U.S. has long contended that several of the nations pushing hardest for localized Internet control -- notably China -- are also those that are most intent on censoring content. Among those echoing such concerns is Amnesty International.

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