ICANN boss Fadi Chehadé appeared before a House of Representatives committee on Wednesday in an attempt to reassure troubled lawmakers that China and Russia will not take control of the internet once the US government pulls out in 2015. "Do you really think that Vladimir Putin ... can't figure out some way to get control? China …
ICANN is mostly a failure
They failed to wrest control of the dot-com zone back from Verisign, and have mostly tacked on additional fees on domain name registrations. Indirectly that means the Department of a Commerce has failed in its oversight. The organization is opaque and unaccountable (google "Karl Auerbach ICANN). There are a few bright spots like DNSSEC and IDN, but they are few and far between.
Putin, Erdogan, Iran or the Chinese Communist Party don't need control over ICANN to enforce Net censorship. The only question is about fighting for the gravy train.
I'm more concerned about how the US has an influence in it, at least China and Russia are more up front about their interest in taking over the world. The US is just more underhand but has the same goals.
ICANN is mostly a success
"There are a few bright spots like DNSSEC and IDN, but they are few and far between."
What on earth is he talking about? ICANN has mainly done what it's supposed to do: hosted the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, which has worked perfectly there since 1998; managed the process of adding Top Level Domains to the DNS - some (including me) disagree with some of the decisions, but nobody can deny that ICANN has managed the process; overseen the DNS root; and indeed assisted the start of deployment of DNSSEC and IDNA.
ICANN has multiple stakeholder bodies to which it's accountable, including the ICANN Board itself. Yes, there's an element of greed in the gTLD game, which I deprecate too, but that can be blamed on capitalism more than on ICANN. And if anybody has sat back and let that rip, it's the US Dept of Commerce, so the sooner they step down, the better. A few procedural changes are needed for that to happen; but there is no scenario in which any other government obtains control.
Russia won't take over Crimea, China won't claim control over international and foreign airspace. Nor will Germany invade Poland. All nations respect the norms of international law and peace, and believe wholeheartedly in unselfish international cooperation for the greater good.
Which is why the US must give up the pretense of controlling the internet, as President O drops the US military to where it couldn't wage a ground war against Bermuda. We can trust Russia and China just as much as they already freely trust us.
Re: Never Happen
What does 'take over the interwebs' really mean anyway? And what does "control of ICANN" mean? Put in that vague way both statements are meaningless - not that I would expect anything else from a House of Reps committee.
"And what does "control of ICANN" mean?"
If whoever controls ICANN does something really stupid, people (mostly ISP technicians) get their DNS resolvers to point to emergency root zone copies provided by a more reputable party, e.g. some organisation formed for this purpose by the various TLD DNS content server operators. It'll be a little more difficult when lots of barely computer literate end users will be running DNSSEC end to end down to client level, as that would then also require automated OS patches to change the DNSSEC root of trust key. But that's likely to be a long way off.
Not sure if flogging off top level domains to the highest bidder, as ICANN are now doing, qualifies as really stupid as I guess it will make their directors and execs personally a lot more wealthy in the short term. But it's certainly going to increase breakage for everyone else.
Re: Never Happen
It means a US govt taking away Iraq's .iq domain and giving control of it to a dodgy businessman in Texas.
The sooner the US are not involved and don't have oversight the better. But I really doubt anyone is seriously worried about another Nation being able to wrest control. Even if it was a serious risk I'm sure most of the planet would prefer it wasn't the US or UK down to NSA/GCHQ games. Why not give it to the swiss to run?
The US has already set in place agreements with ICANN which ensure control. Those agreements are not currently on the table, so the whole idea of giving up control is a complete lie. Also, the U.S. say they will not accept a proposal based on a government-led or an inter-governmental organization solution.
Michael Geist has an interesting article explaining this, and notes that:
"That document included a commitment for the U.S. to remain involved in the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), the powerful body within ICANN that allows governments to provide their views on governance matters. It also contained an ICANN commitment to remain headquartered in the U.S., effectively ensuring ongoing U.S. jurisdiction over it."
Control goes much further than that and the U.S. will remain in charge of .net .com. and .org.
No control = easy to control you.
Screwing it up fast means the walled garden app becomes the norm.
No internet = no free speech = corporate joy,
Big business hates the internet.US loves big business.
Join the dots.
Most of the world is relieved, not worried, that the US will have less direct control. The "worried" part of the world is a few thousand people in the semi-tech fringe of the US republican party... that's not much of the world population.
"the US government’s withdrawal could leave a dangerous vacuum"
I had one of those once, turned out to be a loose wire in the plug.
"the US government’s withdrawal could leave a dangerous vacuum"
After withdrawal, there was no danger, just an odd farting sound.
What of it?
So the US gives up "control" over the internet. That just means that the NSA will have to work harder, doesn't it? The worst that can happen is that we wind up with more than one internet--Oh, wait! We already have more than one internet. What was I thinking?
Chinese support from African nations
Thanks to it's aid and investments in many African nations, China may get a few support votes from there but that's not enough get a majority.
Well one group may benefit.
If the Interwebs get all clogged up, and things grind to a halt, we all may just have to go back to writing letters...ON PAPER...and return to using the Post Office. Wouldn't THEY be happy.
Mine's the one with the stamps in the pocket.
Re: Well one group may benefit.
As long as they're not cabbage-flavoured...
ICANN doesn't control the Internet
The idiots in Congress (and we breed 'em good and dumb here in the colonies) are worried about an irrelevancy. ICANN does not run the Internet. It is merely a consulting firm, run by its own board and financed by its own fees. Its task is to recommend which top-level domain servers should be used by DNS server operators, and, via IANA, to recommend which IP address blocks advertised via BGP should be accepted, if anyone ever bothers to check. If ICANN's word is no longer trusted, network and server owners can just turn elsewhere. It is not like the ITU, which is a treaty organization coordinating actual government-regulated networks. It's literally a voluntary club, and it no longer needs USG sponsorship.
Nothing ICANN does has any impact on wiretapping by any party. That will go on no matter who owns the DNS root.
Re: ICANN doesn't control the Internet
This is the first and only sensible statement made so far. Lets be clear, ICANN has run as an autonomous entity for close to two decades, generated its own operating funds, and the sum total of US "control" of ICANN has been a very old Commerce Department contract that has been continuously extended. In theory the US Commerce department could rescind the contract and proceed to run it themselves. The likelihood of that taking place is about zero, short of that there is no control, its all BS from politicians. What will likely take place after a lot of shouting and posturing is that ICANN will be set free to operate as it has for the last two decades. Who will be pissed off? The ITU which is an ugly UN and Telco monopoly, and that's a really good thing!!!!
The flap exposes an interesting world view
People have different world views. For some the world consists of three nations and the majority of the planet, well doesn't have a voice. Many holding such a view seem to prefer the US to cold war foes of Russia and China. Never mind that such a view has little utility in a multi polar world. The world is a more complicated place and leaders should be expressing that fact. If leaders won't then media could and should 'fact check' their simplifications or wishful thinking.
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