Internet Governance Squabble Expected To Hijack U.N. Meeting

Growing resentment among other nations over U.S. control over the Internet is expected to spill over into a summit scheduled for mid-November. Both sides remain far apart on who should run the Web.
But that misses the point, Mueller says. Many countries are angry that the U.S. government simply has the authority to change the root-zone file, which lists the top-level domains and their IP addresses.

“That information is controlled by the United States for the whole world,” Mueller says. “The United States could eliminate an entire country code if it wanted to. Nobody’s accusing them of wanting to do that, but it’s a strange feeling for the rest of the world that their existence as a top level domain depends on a unilateral U.S. decision.”

And while few people dispute that oversight from multiple governments would add an unhealthy dose of geopolitics into the mix, it’s nave to believe that those disputes do not already exist within ICANN, he says.

As evidence, he points to the decision last month to postpone for the second time in as many months a decision on creating a .xxx domain for adult content. The U.S. government stepped in after opposition from conservative lobbying groups.

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