U.S. Insists on Keeping Control of Web


Richard Moore

why do you have such big eyes grandma?

the better to watch you with, my dear.

why do you have such big teeth grandma?
the better to eat you with, my dear.



U.S. Insists on Keeping Control of Web
By The Associated Press

posted: 29 September 2005
01:30 pm ET

GENEVA (AP) -- A senior U.S. official rejected calls on
Thursday for a U.N. body to take over control of the main
computers that direct traffic on the Internet, reiterating
U.S. intentions to keep its historical role as the medium's
principal overseer.

"We will not agree to the U.N. taking over the management of
the Internet,'' said Ambassador David Gross, the U.S.
coordinator for international communications and information
policy at the State Department. "Some countries want that. We
think that's unacceptable.''

Many countries, particularly developing ones, have become
increasingly concerned about the U.S. control, which stems
from the country's role in creating the Internet as a Pentagon
project and funding much of its early development.

Gross was in Geneva for the last preparatory meeting ahead of
November's U.N. World Summit on the Information Society in

Some negotiators from other countries said there was a growing
sense that a compromise had to be reached and that no single
country ought to be the ultimate authority over such a vital
part of the global economy.

But Gross said that while progress was being made on a number
of issues necessary for producing a finalized text for Tunis,
the question of Internet governance remained contentious.

A stalemate over who should serve as the principal traffic
cops for Internet routing and addressing could derail the
summit, which aims to ensure a fair sharing of the Internet
for the benefit of the whole world.

Some countries have been frustrated that the United States and
European countries that got on the Internet first gobbled up
most of the available addresses required for computers to
connect, leaving developing nations with a limited supply to

They also want greater assurance that as they come to rely on
the Internet more for governmental and other services, their
plans won't get derailed by some future U.S. policy.

One proposal that countries have been discussing would wrest
control of domain names from the U.S.-based Internet
Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, and
place it with an intergovernmental group, possibly under the
United Nations.

Gross dismissed it as unacceptable.

"We've been very, very clear throughout the process that there
are certain things we can agree to and certain things we can't
agree to,'' Gross told reporters at U.N. offices in Geneva.
"It's not a negotiating issue. This is a matter of national

He said the United States was "deeply disappointed'' with the
European Union's proposal Wednesday advocating a "new
cooperation model,'' which would involve governments in
questions of naming, numbering and addressing on the Internet.

In 1998, the U.S. Commerce Department selected ICANN to
oversees the Internet's master directories, which tell Web
browsers and e-mail programs how to direct traffic. Internet
users around the world interact with them everyday, likely
without knowing it.

Although ICANN is a private organization with international
board members, Commerce ultimately retains veto power. Policy
decisions could at a stroke make all Web sites ending in a
specific suffix essentially unreachable. Other decisions could
affect the availability of domain names in non-English
characters or ones dedicated to special interests such as


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