US Digging in Heels at WSIS?

The US position on WSIS is stated, quite forcefullly, in EU and U.S. clash over control of Net.

Key quotes:

The European decision to back the rest of the world in demanding the creation of a new international body to govern the Internet clearly caught the Americans off balance and left them largely isolated at talks designed to come up with a new way of regulating the digital traffic of the 21st century.

“It’s a very shocking and profound change of the EU’s position,” said David Gross, the State Department official in charge of America’s international communications policy. “The EU’s proposal seems to represent an historic shift in the regulatory approach to the Internet from one that is based on private sector leadership to a government, top-down control of the Internet.”

Political unease with the U.S. approach, symbolized by opposition to the war in Iraq, has spilled over into these technical discussions, delegates said.

The United States has sharply criticized demands, like one made last week by Iran, for a UN body to govern the Internet, Gross said. “No intergovernmental body should control the Internet,” he said, “whether it’s the UN or any other.” U.S. officials argue that a system like the one proposed by the EU would lead to unwanted bureaucratization of the Internet.

“I think the U.S. is overreacting,” said David Hendon, a spokesman for the EU delegation.

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One Response to US Digging in Heels at WSIS?

  1. mau mau says:

    What exactly are they proposing to take over – ICANN, the root zone management, “organizing principles” ?!?

    My concern is that the UN can not be trusted to manage the internet’s domain name and addressing space. The UN has evolved into a legislative and judicial body and hasn’t the sorts of institutional checks necessary to prevent this function from becoming politicized. What starts as a simple administrative function could very easily evolve towards a regulatory function. And while the Americans certainly have their share of problems, they at least recognize the value of maintaining freedom of expression and association through the internet.

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