US to relinquish control of the net

Here’s the story.

I’m not even American (I’m English) but I find this a little worrying. The US represents the same liberal freedom-protective tradition that the UK shares. To be blunt that is not a tradition that many countries around the globe have much time for. To be blunter still, I do not want countries like China, Russia (to name but two) to have any input as to how the net operates.

I just do not understand why the US should relinquish control over the net and it troubles me. Am I right to have such concerns or am I just being ignorant of how the net works and what this move means for that working?

If international control results in unacceptable restrictions, it would be relatively easy to carve away a sub-net and govern it according to more acceptable rules.

Other nations, like China, can already impose their rules on internet activity within their borders.

So…not to worry. Like the U.N. Security Council, the big boys will always retain a kind of national veto over changes that go too far.

Trinopus, I’d like to congratulate for discovering the single least-effective assurance ever uttered by man.

Grin. One does one’s best.

A multi-stakeholder model makes sense as long as the next entity that fills the role of the U.S. is not a single government or even a collection of governments (most notably not the U.N.–its Internet body is regularly chaired by the likes of Middle East Oil Sheikdoms and etc and has no business being anywhere near the Internet’s top level domains.) Ideally governments would have some position to play, but it would be primarily a consortium of independent technical advisory bodies curate such that it excludes sham ones from places like Iran or whatever who would just want involved to fuck up the Internet as much as possible.

The U.S.'s role with ICANN has actually been described as “clerical” and not terribly important in its daily operations. What has been important is that by having the U.S. government in that role…no one else has been in that role and there are a lot of worrying scenarios of who the alternates might be. While some can talk about the breach of trust from NSA spying, it’s worth emphasizing that the U.S.'s position in regards to ICANN didn’t really make it any easier or harder to do the kind of spying it was doing.

I missed the public forum discussion on this before it happened. Because without such discussion it becomes one person’s personal agenda.

This isn’t about “control of the Internet”. It’s only about assignment of names and addresses, and has little to do with delivery of packets. The US government has little or no control over the latter anyway.

He who controls the packets controls the universe…

This *is *the discussion. As of right now, this is still just a plan. Do feel free to THANKS OBAMA! shakefist to your heart’s content regardless, of course. It makes you look smart and handsome.

I’m not sure the change would, um, change much of anything. IP and domain name allocation isn’t where internet control lies. He who controls the bandwidth controls the universe, and that’s private actors in a majority of (Western) cases. All I can really see this move affecting is, it’ll probably be even more of a PITA to get any traction should someone “steal” your preferred domain name before you can register it. Big whoop.

So, Time-Warner then?

The assignment of names and addresses pretty much is control of the Internet. Yes, technically you can bypass that by typing in an IP address, bsut very few people do that. In theory, if a malevolent company took over, they could redirect all traffic to to a completely different website, or just block it entirely.

In practice, it’s highly unlikely anyone will be that transparent about it. And, yes, if you have the bandwidth, you can just make a new system that won’t respect what the registrations say. But to say it has “little to do with the delivery of packets” is wrong. Those packets are addressed by using DNS, which is what the registration ultimately controls.