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back to article US will fight ITU members for internet domination

The US has made it clear that it won't be letting control of the internet slip out of ICANN's hands anytime soon. The US Department of State released the country's proposals for the World Conference on International Telecommunications on its website, where the threat of attempts by Russia and others to wrest the web from the US …

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Bronze badge

Sooner this is done

..the better!

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WTF?

Re: Sooner this is done

You have clearly never had the good fortune to deal with the ITU if you think they would be any less bad at this than the US.

The ITU is populated by telecom companies working to prevent any risk of competition or consumer choice with a light sprinkling of government representatives working to make sure no progress at all is made. The organisation is entirely political and about as much value for normal people as a G8 summit.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sooner this is done

That's a load of twaddle about the ITU. A part of it may be to do with big governmental bodies, but an awful lot if it isn't. Instead of spreading such nonsense, go to the ITU web site and look at what else they cover, there's a lot of really good stuff there, all freely available.

I am working on a part of an ITU recommendation update (hence the AC) and it has f**k all to do with companies, governments, or any other vested interest, it's pure research which will be available to read in due course. The only shame is that none of it is referenced so my name won't appear in lights once it's published.

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Silver badge
Devil

Really?

Really? For the better?

Stop for a moment and look who's proposing these changes. Russia and China.

What are their records like on free speech and free reporting again?

Super Putin and his Chineese friends want to be able to pull any criticism of them off the Internet. That's what this is about.

It's truly a case here of better the (hands off) devil you know (than the other hands on devil you also know)

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Bronze badge
Boffin

Re: Sooner this is done

I have quite a few reasons to think the ITU could do a better job of what's needed here (which isn't much) than the US. UK interest alligns with all non US interest here, to the extent ICANN governance is broken and needs fixing. Consider what this job really involves. It involves publishing the root DNS zone file which is a small file which doesn't change very often. What's likely to be the most contentious part of it involves deciding which ISP gets to look after a little-used TLD on behalf of islands in the Pacific built out of bird poo when they have a revolution.

ICANN are currently actively proposing to pollute the TLD namespace with crap brands for sale like .pepsi and .mcdonalds and pimping contended for-profit registries like .whores and .bank to the highest bidders. Well they would build their empire that way, given the US government isn't going to stop them.

Could you ever imagine the ITU polluting international telephone dialling codes in the same way ?

The rest of what ICANN does is delegating numeric address space to the continental RIRs. IPV4 space is all gone so that job's been done. IPV6 space isn't likely ever to be in short supply within the next couple of centuries or so, and it shouldn't take a genius to allocate it in a way which prevents router tables from getting too fragmented.

As it stands, the ITU is morally and diplomatically competent while ICANN are technically competent but morally and diplomatically incompetent. So it's time for ICANN to come under ITU governance.

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Flame

What they are really after

Top level domain names are a sideshow. It's pretty clear what the totalitarian governments are really after, and they have picked on IPv6 address allocation as a pseudo-technical way to get it: centralised control of Internet routing, which allows centralised eavesdropping and censorship. Do not be fooled by arguments about fairness in address allocation requiring country-based address blocks (under ITU administration). As somebody said on an IETF list this week: "Since the Internet actually works with a topological addressing scheme, the effect is to force the topology to be congruent with the geography. If you want central control, that's a desirable result."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sooner this is done

The only thing worse than the US having control over the Net is having Russia, China, or any other tinpot dictatorship having even a pinkie-finger on the helm.

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WTF?

I don't understand why they even bother

The US has absolutely no reason to give up control over the internet. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Why even make the proposal if you've failed to present a good reason for the current owner of the status quo to just give it up? Who are they trying to score points with? The US doesn't even have an incentive to pretend to listen to these proposals, much less do anything about them.

And frankly, if Russia and China, those two bastions of Internet Freedom, both think a particular regulatory change for internet governance is a good idea, I think it's pretty safe to assume that it isn't.

If Russia and China don't like the way ICANN is running things, they can make their own damn Internet; it seems to be what they would prefer their citizens use anyway.

ICANN has plenty of faults, but I can only imagine what horrors a UN-run body would come up with.

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Silver badge

Re: I don't understand why they even bother

"The US has absolutely no reason to give up control over the internet. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Why even make the proposal if you've failed to present a good reason for the current owner of the status quo to just give it up? Who are they trying to score points with? The US doesn't even have an incentive to pretend to listen to these proposals, much less do anything about them."

Well, the idea is if World - {US} wants the US to lose control, they should be able to forcibly remove control from them. I mean, your attitude seems to be that if one entity has control of something and doesn't want to let go of it, then all other entities involved should just lump it; an interesting idea.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I don't understand why they even bother

Well, yes they have reasons.

Even the US sometimes have to play nicely with the other kids, especially if they want those other kids to play with their toys.

The real question is: How many Boeings, Monsanto seeds, Tanks, etc is the Internet worth?

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Gold badge

Re: the can make their own Internet

"If Russia and China don't like the way ICANN is running things, they can make their own damn Internet; it seems to be what they would prefer their citizens use anyway."

Yes, but even that is missing the point that they'd gain nothing from the exercise.

All ICANN provides is a place we can go to find the numerous registered bits and pieces that make the protocols work for real content. This isn't a political activity, unless the Russians want to repeat the mistakes of Lysenkoism. The only consequence of moving ICANN into the UN would be who pays the bills. If you want to "control the internet", you can already block existing protocols and sites and add new ones under your own control. Helping to paying ICANN's bills doesn't change that or stop anyone else from doing it.

This whole debate strikes me as a perfect example of politicians pretending that there is a problem purely so that they can grandstand over the non-issue for domestic purposes. Perhaps it isn't surprising. However, a *really* smart US government would say "OK, then." and hand over "the keys to the internet". (Perhaps Katherine Parkinson would like to make the presentation.) By the time the grateful recipients realised that they were now paying good money out of their own pockets for no increased influence, it would be too late to go back to the old system.

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Devil

Re: I don't understand why they even bother

Diplomacy (or warfare) for that matter, is all about convincing the other side that it's to their advantage to do whatever it is you want them to do that you cannot achieve otherwise. That's how international relations works. If you want a country to do something, you need to provide either the proverbial carrot or stick (it doesn't really matter which one (or both) as long as you are credible.)

In this case, I don't see any evidence of a carrot OR a stick. Russia and China are asking the US to give up control to the ITU "just because." There's no threat to wrest control because that would be an empty threat, and there is no promise of something (it doesn't even have to be interent-related! It could be a signature on an IP treaty, some vague promises about human rights, whatever) that would better serve US interests if control were voluntarily given up.

Polite requests with nothing behind them from are nothing more than grandstanding and are doomed to fail.

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FAIL

Re: the can make their own Internet

"All ICANN provides is a place we can go to find the numerous registered bits and pieces that make the protocols work for real content. This isn't a political activity, unless the Russians want to repeat the mistakes of Lysenkoism. The only consequence of moving ICANN into the UN would be who pays the bills. If you want to "control the internet", you can already block existing protocols and sites and add new ones under your own control. Helping to paying ICANN's bills doesn't change that or stop anyone else from doing it."

If it isn't a political activity, and neither Russia nor China would gain anything from the exercise, then why are they asking?

I could imagine all sorts of fascinating things that would-be despotic censors and regulators could do with control of the protocol number assignment tables...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: the can make their own Internet

"If it isn't a political activity, and neither Russia nor China would gain anything from the exercise, then why are they asking?"

But they DO gain: just read this thread. They gain by stirring the pot of anti-US sentiment: "YAH! Y DON DOSE YANK BASTARDS DOZE DAT!"

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Bronze badge

Internet vs Syria?

Maybe the US could be persuaded to give up its control of the Internet in exchange for Russia and China playing ball on Syria?

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Mushroom

Re: Internet vs Syria?

Good try, but in practice it's doubful the US care more about a few thousand lives in Syria than this one. I'm sure control by the ITU of ICANN is negotiable, but it'll have to involve toys the US wants more than this, perhaps some stronger collaboration on nuclear security in the middle east would do nicely.

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Silver badge
Stop

It sounds great in principle

But do you really want the ITU running the internet? Really? There are plenty of (non US) commentators who think this would be the worst idea ever in the history of the internet.

If we were doing this from scratch, I wouldn't have the US holding so much of the critical infrastructure and control, but, I dunno, it seems to be working pretty well right now. Why fuck with it?

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Gold badge

Re: It sounds great in principle

"holding so much of the critical infrastructure"

By "holding", you mean "paying for", right? Or are you referring to the fact that an alternative Internet that didn't contain US sites would be ignored by anyone with a free choice in the matter. Either way, the solution to US "domination" is for Russia and China to pay the bills that need paying and put up the content that people want to see.

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Thumb Down

Re: It sounds great in principle

I dunno, it seems to be working pretty well right now. Why fuck with it?

Before ICANN were proposing greedily to pimp .whores and .bank and any other TLD registries to the highest bidder I agreed with you. Now I don't. The ITU management of the international telephone dialling code directory has been highly responsible in comparison.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It sounds great in principle

"There are plenty of (non US) commentators who think this would be the worst idea ever in the history of the internet."

But they, and you, just haven't been paying attention when reading this (and other) sites on the Internet.

The US is EEEEEEEEEEEVIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLL!!!!!!!!! Everything we do is EVIL. Everything we DON'T do is EVIL! Evil suffuses US, and infects all that we touch. Even the very air we have breathed out is suffused with EVIL - that's what is causing climate change! Our urine blackens the oceans! The light reflecting off US corrupts the sky!

Our control over the Internet is key part of our EVIL. Even this very message is an attempt by an EVIL American to infect all the non-US readers of this web site (which, by the way, is on the Internet, and thus is controlled by US, no matter what you think, and is thus STEEPED IN EVIL) with our EVIL. You feel the urge to kill a puppy right now, don't you? OUR EVIL KNOWS NO BOUNDS!

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Bronze badge
Devil

Re: It sounds great in principle

David,

Yes, We are EEEEVVIILL. But the US is a damn sight more even handed and ethical than Russia, China North Korea will EVER BE, and just about all former Eastern Bloc/Eurasian countries.

Too bad ARPA didn't patent the "Internet" when we had a chance to.

Let the naysayers create, install, manage and pay for their own damn Internet. Then we can conveniently drop them from our router tables and bask in the glory that will be a practically spam free Internet that makes it much more difficult for the Russian mob and the Chinese Government to spy on our government and businesses.

In fact, we should just disconnect them now right at the undersea cables and be done with it. They don't want the principles of "democracy" influencing their people, they sure want evil capitalism though.

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Silver badge

Re: It sounds great in principle

> Too bad ARPA didn't patent the "Internet" when we had a chance to.

The Internet exists largely because no one tried to patent it.

It just worked

Anyone could do it

Everyone who tried to do it made sure their bot of Internet talked to everyone else's bit.

Compare this to some of the competing technologies.

The ITU have already had a go at some of this? When was the last time you tried using X.400 to send an email?

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Mushroom

Re: It sounds great in principle

"http://www.spamhaus.org/statistics/countries/"

So much for your spam-free idea.... Now let's discuss spying on gov'ts, businesses and the NSA, eh?

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Anonymous Coward

China and Russia

The first two countries I think of when it comes to freedom and sorry - I will question any process they are part of. Just look how well the UN is doing in Syria because of those two.

USA may not be perfect - but compared to those two it is.

And any country does not like the current setup (we did start the whole thing) has two chooses

1) Get over it

I guess they only have one choose.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: China and Russia

"I guess they only have one choose. [sic]"

What could be done:

1) eliminate all non-country code TLDs (save the management non-CC TLD .arpa - and ideally, rename .arpa to something else like .icmp)

2) Let each country manage its own CC TLD.

3) Let ICAAN put all these dain-bramaged domains under .us.

4) let whoever do whatever with .uk, .eu, .fr, etc.

Of course, then all the folks who love to complain about the US would have one less thing to bitch about.

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Funny how they have all those TLD's

And I only ever end up going to .com .net .org .edu and the occasional .co.uk.

And anyone who bought their own TLD in the form of .(corporate name) can F*ck right the F*ck off.

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Joke

oh, what a choice

"Russia suggested that some of the responsibility for handing out internet addresses should go to the ITU instead of all being under the control of US-based organisation Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)."

Oh, what a choice - Russia or ICANN. Where's option c)? Hell, we should probably contract it out to the monkey house at London Zoo...

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Silver badge

Re: oh, what a choice

If you have a sufficiently large number of monkeys managing the root DNS and assigning TLDs, then eventually they will produce a masterpiece of an internet.

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RE: Russian/China handle it.

A lot of commentards seem to have missed the fact that Russia and China are not proposing they manage it, they're proposing a neutral international party handle it. Lets ignore the fact that they're holding American up as a fine example of a country that promotes *free speech.

ICANN aren't exactly doing a great job at the moment, maybe it's time for them to give the reins to someone else.

Having said that, I suspect the ITU might suffer from being unable to get anything due due to political conflicts, but I'm struggling to see how that would be a terrible thing.

*only applicable to US citizens.

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Anonymous Coward

People are obviously worried

The fear seems to be that a large power bloc might be able through some means control or influence the administration of the internet unduly.

And that would be a genuine concern. The only worse than that would be if a single country had control of the administration of the internet.......

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My gut feeling on this

Is that the US should simply retain full control. Making everything fairer more democratic under the auspices of the ITU may sound like a nice pipe dream but some of the countries involved are neither fair or democratic. The Internet is the US's baby and while the US may be far from perfect custodian, everything mostly works.

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FAIL

Good idea?

Again, it has to be repeated - what part of Russia and China sponsoring such a change makes anyone remotely think this is a good idea? If there are screaming alarms bell, it's Russia and China asking for a change in how the internet is run!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good idea?

Attacking the messenger is the (very) old proven way to avoid debating the idea. I can do it too:

What part of the US showing a tube of powder to the UN as a proof we need to attack a foreign previously-but-no-longer-our-ally country chock-full of planet-threatening weapons makes you feel we should trust the US' motivations?

What part of the illegal name seizures, like megaupload, done by the US, makes you feel we should trust the US?

Alright, now that's done, how about we revert to grown-ups?

Incann's actions are worsening, and there no reason not to look into what alternatives we have.

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Stop

On the ITU...

The ITU managing the Internet would be a disaster.

The only example of this you need to know, is that in 2011, the ITU debated a length using email to distribute documents, and agreed that they would continue to use FAX as FAXes were the only compatible and reliable solution. In 2011. And this wasn't a minor decision by one of the many minor ITU minions, but discussed at their annual general meeting.

The ITU's administration of the country code database is rather meaningless. They would hand out country codes like candy, if any carrier actually listened to the ITU. Just ask Giblatar about how useless the ITU is, when Spain won't recognize your country code, for 20 odd years. Great work ITU. New countries rarely bother to get country codes, as it would involve re-numbering so several countries today are sharing country codes. Unlike the PSTN, TLDs don't determine your cost to access a domain, like a country code does, so new country codes aren't worth the pain, unless you need the address space.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: On the ITU...

Faxing as the reliable solution - makes sense. I'm sure email in some of the 200-odd members is a bit flaky.

I know that many of our clients would rather send us a faxed order than an email and that's UK clients.

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