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US keep hold of the Internet

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Established Member
13 Jun 2005

The US has won its fight to stay in charge of the internet, despite opposition from many nations.

In an eleventh-hour agreement ahead of a UN internet summit in Tunis, Tunisia, negotiators agreed to leave the US in charge of the net's addressing system.

Instead an international forum will be set up to discuss net issues, although it will not have any binding authority.

The deal clears the way for the summit to focus on how poorer nations can benefit from the digital revolution.

About 10,000 delegates, including world leaders, technology experts and campaigners, are expected at the three-day World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis.

International forum

Disagreements over control of the internet had threatened to overshadow the summit, with countries such as China and Iran pushing for an international body under UN auspices to oversee the net.

We did not change anything on the role of the US government with regard to the technical aspects that we were very concerned about
David Gross, US State Department

Why the net and politicians don't mix
The US had stood firm against this, arguing that it would stifle technological advance and increase censorship of the internet by undemocratic regimes.

The Tunis deal leaves the day-to-day management of the net in the hands of the California-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann), which answers to the US government.

Icann will keep its current responsibilities for overseeing domain names and addressing systems, such as country domain suffixes, and managing how net browsers and e-mail programs direct traffic.

The 170 nations taking part in the negotiations agreed on the creation of an Intergovernmental Forum to discuss all internet issues, such as spam, viruses and cyber crime.

Let's just hope goverments and politicians don't get too much say
David, UK

Send your comments
"We did not change anything on the role of the US government with regard to the technical aspects that we were very concerned about," said the top US negotiator David Gross after the agreement.

Mr Gross said the forum would not have oversight authority nor would it do "anything that will create any problems for the private sector".

Its first meeting is likely to be held in Athens, Greece, early next year.

Casting a wider net

The agreement on internet governance means that delegates at the Tunis meeting can focus on how far governments have gone in their pledges for an "inclusive information society", set out two years ago at a first summit in Geneva.

Image of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
The hurdle here is more political than financial. The cost of connectivity, computers and mobile telephones can be brought down
Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General
Back then, nations pledged to make the net accessible to all by 2015. But worldwide only 14% of the population is online, compared to 62% in the US.

The Geneva summit disappointed many countries after the rich nations failed to back a Digital Solidarity Fund.

The fund, intended to help finance technology projects in developing countries, was formally launched earlier this year.

The voluntary fund has so far only raised $6.4m (£3.68m) in cash and pledges, so the UN will be hoping to encourage more contributions.

Opening the UN summit, Secretary General Kofi Annan said the task now was to make the move from diagnosis to deeds.

"The hurdle here is more political than financial," he said. "The cost of connectivity, computers and mobile telephones can be brought down.

"These bridges to a better life can be universally affordable and accessible. We must summon the will to do it."

One effort which will receive much attention is the non-profit One Laptop Per Child group, set up by Nicholas Negroponte, chairman and founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Labs.

It plans to produce up to 15 million sub-$100 laptops within a year. Professor Negroponte will unveil the prototype at the summit.

There will be hundreds of other projects, events, roundtables, high-level talks and exhibitions at the summit too.

There are other larger social justice issues to be tackled, such as how to ensure freedom of expression and information for everyone on the net, an issue which bloggers will be watching closely.

Ahead of the summit, there have been concerns about freedom of expression in Tunisia, following alleged assaults or harassment of journalists and campaigners on the sidelines of the event.

WSIS takes place in Tunis from 16 to 18 November.
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RailUK Forums


Established Member
11 Jun 2005
I still don't see what rights they have to the Internet when a British guy invented it..... :?


The British guy did invent it, but a US company stole the rights IIRC.


Forum Staff
Staff Member
6 Jun 2005
Who 'invented' the internet is largely irrelevant. The USA should not control it. Why should any country control it? Who does Bush and his cronies think they are? :roll:

Tom B

Established Member
27 Jul 2005
*puts BOFH hat on*

The trouble is, like so many IT things these days, the decisions are made by people who don't have a clue what they're on about. What does Bush know aobut the net?

By its very nature, it is impossible to police. That's what happens when you string millions of computers together. And they shouldn't be policed. If you don't like porn or whatever, don't go to those sites. As for illegal activity this should be on a country-by-country basis (i.e. taking servers off BUT not filtering content a la China). If you start filtering stuff it's a slipperly slope.

As for measures against a) phishing and b) viruses: yes both of those are a pain but I'd bet they would be significantly reduced if the users were less stupid. I'm sorry but you don't even need to know anything about computers, what with the media coverage, to be aware that an email saying "Click this link to verify details" or "Download this file: musicmp3.exe" is dodgy. If you get viruses from such things then IMO you've only yourself to blame!


12 Jul 2005
Watford, Hertfordshire
The whole internet network was first developed by the US Government in the 1960s. It was Tim-Berners Lee in 1991 that created the World Wide Web.
I do not really have many concerns over this decision at the moment over this decision since the Internation Coppration of Assinged Names and Numbers are of an independent American not-for-profit organisation and have prooved to be responsible.
I thought this conference was sopposed to be about providing access to the WWW to areas that can not obtain it.

Gareth Hale

11 Jun 2005
Ive been told that the US Army invented it for sending messages quickly to the other side of the world, and the British Guy converted it for home/work use.

Tom B

Established Member
27 Jul 2005
Hubert sums it up quite nicely.

Don't confuse the terms "Internet" and "World Wide Web". They are two different things, but in the media (and :. the public) mind they are one. The internet is just a huge network. You can do loads with it: WWW is a system for sending web pages over that network and is just one use of the 'net.

So yes ARPANET began in 1969 and the Internet grew from there onwards, I don't know the exact date when it went public but Wikipedia is sure to tell you if you want to know. Definately by the 80s (the first Usenet post still around dates from '83 IIRC) and in 1991 the WWW was born.
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