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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
    (June 1999 - March 2001)

    WSIS .eu and Europe too
    EU UN Web Takeover
    posted by michael on Friday October 07 2005, @05:43AM

    Steven Forrest writes "Europe's biggest telecommunications companies are objecting to the European Union's proposals for UN-led Internet governance, saying the EU's attempt to reduce the U.S.'s role in running the global network raises the danger of bureaucratizing the web, according to this report from the Wall Street Journal.

    The EU last week proposed what it called "an international government involvement at the level of principles" in overseeing the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. The U.S.-backed agency comes up with the technical rules that allow the Internet's billion users to post and visit Web sites. The EU -- supported by its telecommunications companies -- long has urged giving all governments a share of the indirect oversight role currently handled by the U.S. Department of Commerce. However, some telecom companies have objected to the European Commission's latest move. "I've been getting urgent calls from our members, and they are upset," says Michael Bartholomew, director of the European Telecommunications Network Operators Association, which represents 42 major companies in 35 countries. EU Commission spokesman Martin Selmayr insisted that that his organization's position was being misinterpreted. "We categorically oppose any direct government involvement with Icann," he said. In an email to Mr. Bartholomew sent yesterday, chief EU negotiator Peter Zangl wrote that the EU opposes "involvement of governments in the day-to-day management of Internet resources" and instead supports a "multi-stakeholder, public-private partnership" in overseeing Icann. ... "It introduced a proposal that went a long way towards the position that a number of states headed by Iran had been advocating, opening for a political control mechanism," Carl Bildt, former Swedish prime minister and chairman of Swedish telecom Teleopti, wrote on his web log. It was, he added, "a U-turn by the European Union that was as unexpected as it was disturbing."
    The WSJ report notes that ICANN "is already an international body," and that fewer than half of its 45 employees and only five of its 21 board members are American. ICANN director Paul Twomey is an Australian. Twomey is quoted saying, "ICANN understands the calls for further internationalization, but we're very concerned that the Internet technical coordination should not become the basis for politicization." The story quotes a U.S. delegate insisting ICANN must remain under U.S. government control because the Internet first flourished in the U.S: "We think Icann is the appropriate technical manager of the Internet" domain-name system, says John Sammis, a U.S. diplomat in Brussels. The WSJ story notes that, while the dispute is on the agenda of a U.N.-sponsored World Information Society summit in Tunisia (Nov. 16-18), "any agreement requires U.S. consent, which means it seems almost certain that the status quo will prevail and the U.S. will stay at the helm of ICANN." Given the alternative - an Internet run by a UN bureaucracy friendly to regimes that quash free speech - that's a good thing. As Glenn Reynolds said regarding the UN's attempt to take control of the Internet, "You can bet that they'll do their best to quash criticism of corrupt international bureaucracies if that happens. Reynolds notes an email from a reader who comments:
    It's like I posted to Slashdot: why would the EU and the UN want to grab control, when that control right now is only being used for laissez faire? Because they want to /stop/ the laissez faire! China wants to take down Tibetan and Falun Gong sites. Germany wants to ban neonazis from the internet. The arab nations would want to kick off Israel until it "fulfils its international obligations". Etc etc. This is nothing less than an attempt to stuff the information genie back into its bottle. At all costs, they must be prevented from claiming the spurious moral high ground! Confront them with the question: what would you change? And, why not go through process at ICANN? What would you want to do, that they would refuse? And why?
    Comments Reynolds, "The U.N. and E.U.'s moral high ground is usually spurious.""

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      Related Links  
    · Dr. Paul Twomey
    · European Union
    · ICANN
    · Carl Bildt
    · wrote on his web log
    · Glenn Reynolds
    · Steven Forrest
    · report
    · More WSIS stories
    · Also by michael
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    EU UN Web Takeover | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 2 comments | Search Discussion
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    Who is the Australian Paul Twomey trying to fool?
    by Anonymous on Friday October 07 2005, @06:30AM (#16313)
    Who is the Australian Paul Twomey trying to fool?

    "ICANN "is already an international body," and that fewer than half of its 45 employees and only five of its 21 board members are American. ICANN director Paul Twomey is an Australian. Twomey is quoted saying, "ICANN understands the calls for further internationalization, but we're very concerned that the Internet technical coordination should not become the basis for politicization."

    ICANN is already 100% "politicization" and 0% technical.

    Who is the Australian Paul Twomey trying to fool?
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
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