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10/24/2005
03:22 PM
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Congress Wants U.S. To Retain Grip On Internet

A trio of lawmakers in the House of Representatives has joined a Senate colleague in calling for the United States to retain oversight control of the Internet, as a coming showdown looms with countries wanting more say in how the Web is run.

A trio of lawmakers in the House of Representatives has joined a Senate colleague in calling for the U.S. to retain oversight control over the Internet, as a showdown looms with countries wanting more say in how the Web is run.

Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.), Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), and Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) introduced a resolution with language similar to Sen. Norm Coleman's (R-Minn.) resolution introduced earlier in the U.S. Senate.

"The authoritative root zone server should remain physically located in the United States and the Secretary of Commerce should maintain oversight of ICANN so that ICANN can continue to manage the day-to-day operation of the Internet's domain name and addressing system," read the House resolution.

ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is a Calififornia-based non-profit tasked by the U.S. Department of Commerce to coordinate the Domain Name System (DNS), and manage the top-level domains like .com, .net, and .org. Commerce once did that job, but passed it on to ICANN in 1998.

The U.S. management is a legacy of the Internet's origins, which hark back to a Defense Department project, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Internet, launched in 1969.

Lately, however, several countries -- among them Brazil, China, Cuba, and Iran -- as well as organizations including the United Nations and the European Union have been pushing for a place at the Internet management table. In July, for instance, a U.N. report not only called for the U.S. to cede control, but said that the United Nations should set broader Internet policy, including multi-lingualization of the Web and the power to tax domains to pay for universal access.

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