US lets totalitarian countries have more control of the internet

This looks bad for freedom of the internet. If China controls the domain names that are in Chinese and if they can limit access in China to those domain names, the Chinese can remove the domain name for anyone who puts up information that they don't approve. Possibly I am missing something, but this seems pretty serious.

After complaints about American dominance of the internet and growing disquiet in some parts of the world, Washington has said it will relinquish some control over the way the network is run and allow foreign governments more of a say in the future of the system.

Icann – the official body that ultimately controls the development of the internet thanks to its oversight of web addresses such as .com, .net and .org – said today that it was ending its agreement with the US government.

The deal, part of a contract negotiated with the US department of commerce, effectively pushes California-based Icann towards a new status as an international body with greater representation from companies and governments around the globe.

Icann had previously been operating under the auspices of the American government, which had control of the net thanks to its initial role in developing the underlying technologies used for connecting computers together.

But the fresh focus will give other countries a more prominent role in determining what takes place online, and even the way in which it happens – opening the door for a virtual United Nations, where many officials gather to discuss potential changes to the internet. . . .

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Blogger Hank said...

This could be really bad, though it won't change the most fundamental problems with national censorship around the world. Basically, China is already blocking the IP addresses of many places they don't want their citizens to see. ICANN is responsible for nameservers, which are like a phonebook for finding IP addresses. If someone in China is currently using a proxy for their web surfing (like Tor), they'll just have to proxy their DNS lookups as well. Tor has a nice implementation of this:


The internet should be open for everyone.

10/05/2009 8:23 AM  

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