Wednesday, November 16, 2005

"US to keep control of domain names"

Read Andy Sullivan and Astrid Wendlandt's article on Reuters/Yahoo! News.

"The United States will keep control of the domain-name system that guides online traffic under an agreement on Wednesday seen as a setback to efforts to internationalize one of the pillars of the Internet."

"Negotiators at the United Nations' World Summit on the Information Society said they had agreed to set up a forum to discuss "spam" e-mail and other Internet issues and explore ways to narrow the technology gap between rich and poor countries.

"But oversight of the domain-name system will remain with the United States, a setback for the European Union and other countries that had pushed for international control of one of the most important technical aspects of the Internet......

"Under the agreement, a California nonprofit body known as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, will continue to oversee the system that matches addresses like '' with numerical addresses that computers can understand.

"Individual countries will have greater control over their own domains, such as China's .cn or France's .fr. Disputes have arisen on occasion between national governments and the independent administrators assigned to manage these domains by ICANN.

"Businesses, technical experts and human-rights groups will be allowed to participate along with governments in the forum, which will first meet in early 2006.

"'Internet governance requires a multi-stakeholder approach. This is why we have suffered such agonies in our discussions on Internet governance,' said Yoshio Utsumi, who heads the International Telecommunications Union, the UN organization that sponsored the summit."

UNESCO is one of the sponsors of WSIS. Internet governance was seen as potentially one of the most contentious issues of the meeting!

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