Wednesday, November 16, 2005

ICANN

Lawrence Lessig on Battling for Control of the Internet :
I’ve been a critic of ICANN for a long time, especially in its early stages. But I think what it’s trying to do now is pretty close to what it ought to be doing, which is just trying to serve technical functions in the narrowest possible way. They’ve resisted a lot of policy work that they could have been doing.

Right now, I hope that ICANN continues to exercise control. It’s not because I have any affection for the U.S. government’s control over ICANN, but because I think that they’ve developed an internal norm about making as light a regulatory footprint as they can. I would be worried about transferring authority because I think that some other body coming in might imagine it can use its power over the domain names to try to regulate all sorts of policy objectives. We’d all be worse off if that happened.
Update (21 Nov): the French aren't too happy though:
Essayez donc de faire une adresse avec .kp, et vous aurez pour réponse : « The web site cannot be found. » [...] Cela ne fera peut-être pas pleurer grand monde parce que kp, c’est la Corée du Nord.
Le pouvoir de l’ICANN est donc immense dans un monde où l’Internet joue un rôle déterminant. Il est juste de dire qu’en dehors du cas de la Corée du Nord, les Américains n’en ont pas usé jusqu’à présent.
On the other hand, another French person, from Reporters without Borders, on BBC's 'Talking Point' said "We don't want the UN to get its hands on the Internet, because we don't trust the UN on human rights."

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