Negotiators water down text on internet governance
Wednesday 16 November 2005
Negotiators from more than 100 countries have agreed to leave the United States in charge of the Internet's addressing system, averting a US-EU showdown at this week's UN technology summit.
US officials said early today that instead of transferring management of the system to an international body such as the United Nations, an international forum would be created to address concerns. The forum, however, would have no binding authority.
US Assistant Secretary of Commerce Michael Gallagher said the deal means the United States will leave day-to-day management to the private sector, through a quasi-independent organisation called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or Icann.
"The Internet lives to innovate for another day," he said.
Negotiators have met since Sunday to reach a deal ahead of the UN World Summit on the Information Society, which starts today. World leaders are expected to ratify a declaration incorporating the deal during the summit, which ends on Friday.
The summit was originally conceived to address the digital divide - the gap between information haves and have-nots - by raising both consciousness and funds for projects.
Instead, it has centred largely on internet governance: oversight of the main computers that control traffic on the Internet by acting as its master directories so web browsers and email programs can find other computers.
That job is handled by Icann, which answers to the US government.
The EU mediated between the United States and a group of countries including China and Iran that have sought to replace Icann with a multi-country group under UN auspices.
But Washington declared in June that it would retain oversight indefinitely, despite what many countries thought was a long-standing policy to one day completely turn the function over to Icann.
In September, the EU insisted that a new combination of governments and the private sector share responsibility of policing the internet.
The compromise was the creation of a forum with representatives from government, civil society and the private sector, said David Gross, the US State Department's top official on internet policy.
Besides taking up addressing issues, the forum could address spam, cybercrime and any other issue its participants want to bring up, Gross said. The first meeting will likely be held in Athens, Greece, early next year, he said.
Gross said the forum would not have oversight authority nor would it do "anything that will create any problems for the private sector".
James Love, a US-based consumer advocate who follows international policies affecting technology, said the forum should be influential, even if it lacks authority. In an online posting, Love said businesses have attempted similar forums in the past, but none with the legitimacy of a UN-sanctioned group.
Meanwhile, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation yesterday expressed concern about what it called the "rural digital divide".
"The rural digital divide is isolating almost 1 billion of the poorest people who are unable to participate in the global information society," the agency said.
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Zayn Malik quits One Direction: Hundreds of workers request compassionate leave following band member's exit
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...