Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Debunking Rumors of an Internet Takeover

Pfanner, Eric. "Debunking Rumors of an Internet Takeover." The New York Times, June 11, 2012.

From article: "This just in from Geneva: The United Nations has no plans to seize control of the Internet. The Web-snatching black helicopters have not left the hangar. 

Internet conspiracy theorists will be disappointed. The latest one, fueled by “open Internet” groups, Internet companies like Google and some U.S. lawmakers, was that mouse-clicking bureaucrats at U.N. headquarters in Geneva, supported by governments suspicious of the United States, were scheming to take over the Internet itself. 

The plot went something like this: At a meeting in December of an obscure U.N. agency called the International Telecommunication Union, Russia, China and their ilk would try to wrest oversight of the Internet away from the loose collection of public and private organizations that do the job now, handing this responsibility to the I.T.U. All sorts of bad things, from censorship to the breakup of the Internet, would ensue…. Time for a reality check. Documents prepared for the December meeting, which leaked out last week — yes, on the Internet — show that there are no proposals to hand governance of the Net to the I.T.U. The union insists that it has no desire to play such a role. And even if some governments would like to give the agency increased regulatory powers, the United States and other like-minded countries could easily block them." Read more