US wins battle to retain control of internet


US wins battle to retain control of internet

Antony Savvas

The US is to keep control of the internet after demands from other nations that it should share control came to nothing ahead of this week’s World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis.

China, Iran, Brazil, Cuba, Russia and others had called for a vote on the matter in the run-up to the conference, initially with the backing of the European Union.

However, the US launched an intense lobbying campaign, claiming that ceding control would weaken the internet's structure. Its campaign was backed by a letter to governments from national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, as well as submissions from US-based IT heavyweights including Microsoft and Google. In the wake of this, the EU decided to abstain on the matter and support for radical reform crumbled.

A delegate from Pakistan chaired a pre-summit meeting and called on delegates to reach consensus on the issue. What was actually reached was effectively the status quo.

A new Internet Governance Forum will be created next year that will deal with public policy issues concerning the internet, but delegates also agreed to continue to work through existing agencies when it came to the control of the internet’s infrastructure.

This means US-based ICANN will continue to deal with matters concerning the management of domain names, and the US government will still control the main internet root servers at the heart of the infrastructure.

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