Curmudgeon's Corner

cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

Is This Really Wise?

U.S., Politics, Quality of Life, People Making A Difference, Economy

The late-Friday press release always seems to have something to do with what is being stated.  Late yesterday our national government released the information that it was ready and willing to relinquish control over the back end of the Internet to global multi-stakeholders, whatever that would be.

As it now stands, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, a Commerce Department agency, oversees that technical system which is named the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, or IANA.  It has historically contracted its responsibilities to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Number, or ICANN which is probably a much more familiar acronym.  ICANN manages the system for naming domains, ensuring that each web address is registered to only one person.  Its contract is now set to expire in September, 2015.

The Commerce Department agency is now asking that ICANN convene a meeting of global stakeholders to come up with a proposal to transition the agency’s role.  This sounds innocuous enough but there is concern on many fronts that this could set the Internet up for censorship by other governments (or even from our own government but who would ever think something like that).

This seems to me to be a big mistake likely taken to achieve a better foreign view of our own government while setting the Internet up for mischief.

A huge chunk of our commerce system is heavily dependent upon the Internet.  The idea that we would willingly give control of this resource over to a global “multi-stakeholder” group over which we have no control boggles the mind.  This brings to mind how effective the United Nations, a global multi-stakeholder type of organization is these days.  Why in the world wouldn’t we be falling all over ourselves to get involved in another of those things?

Those who make such decisions appear to be able to overlook things like China’s spying on our infrastructure through its use of the Internet.  Do we really want China or Russia to have an element of control over naming conventions (things visible) and other functioning (things invisible) of the Internet?

The Internet was our creation (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency [DARPA]).  Why wouldn’t we want to continue to exercise control over how it is used?  Recent ideas about new domain naming conventions were bad enough (things like .sucks for example).  It is difficult to imagine where this decision could take us and where it could take the U.S.

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