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Name Game
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Grand Rapids, MI
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Who controls the internet?

The International Telecommunication Union is holding its first global conference for 14 years in Dubai in December.
Have you ever noticed that wherever you are in the world, every telephone keypad looks the same? Or wondered why satellites don't crash into each other? Or why you dial 64 to reach New Zealand, but 65 for Singapore? These are some of the mundane but essential logistical achievements of the International Telecommunication Union, a specialist UN agency that dates back to 1865.

Yet as it gears up for its first global conference in 14 years, the ITU has found itself under unprecedented attack. The first assailant is the powerful US technology lobby. Companies, including Google, are claiming that new ITU proposals would mean internet companies paying hefty fees to local telecoms companies, reigniting historic tensions between US internet giants and incumbent telecoms firms across the world.

But that's not the only battle that will be played out this December when the ITU's 193 member states gather in Dubai. Russia and China have been explicit in their goal of taking control of the internet away from the US, while developing countries feel the western technology hegemony is limiting their economic opportunities. With the world's internet population predicted to reach 3.4 billion by 2016, there is everything to play for.

The ITU has not helped its case. Suspected by some critics of encouraging the controversial proposals, comments by the eloquent secretary general Dr Hamadoun Touré seem designed to antagonise the US. He told Vanity Fair earlier this year: "When an invention becomes used by billions across the world, it no longer remains the sole property of one nation, however powerful that nation might be. There should be a mechanism where many countries have an opportunity to have a say."

The reaction to some of these new proposals, or ITRs, has been a comprehensive, well-organised and well-funded campaign by a cabal of powerful American corporates – including Google, Microsoft, Cisco, AT&T and Comcast. Much of the resulting media coverage of the ITU, particularly in the US, has ranged from dismissive to aggressive, labelling the low-profile union obscure and irrelevant and exploiting American animosity for the UN.

»www.guardian.co.uk/technology/20···internet
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StuartMW
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... comments by the eloquent secretary general Dr Hamadoun Touré seem designed to antagonise the US. He told Vanity Fair earlier this year: "When an invention becomes used by billions across the world, it no longer remains the sole property of one nation, however powerful that nation might be. There should be a mechanism where many countries have an opportunity to have a say."

Sounds like a UN representative.

Translated--just because the US invented the internet and US companies, for the most part, developed it and made it available to the masses doesn't mean you have the right to control it. Property rights? Huh?
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Msradell
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reply to Name Game

It sounds like they're going to screw up a system that is doing very well without government intervention! The Internet was started by academic entities and has grown from there. Governments were not involved in its conception you don't need to be now.



StuartMW
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said by Msradell:

Governments were not involved in its conception you don't need to be now.

I guess that depends on your viewpoint. DARPA (funded by the US military and hence gummint) came up with the protocols etc that form the internet.

»www.darpa.mil/about/history/history.aspx
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Woody79_00
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reply to Name Game

personally...the USA needs to tell the ITU, Russia, and China to just go pound salt.....if the UN ends up voting to remove our control, then we should just withdraw from the UN and cut the internet cord connecting us to Europe, Asia and everywhere else.

Then we can "make exclusive deals" to connect to countries that want to do business with good faith, and don't want to act assine like the ITU wants to.

I say let them have it...we can build our own network and decide who and what gets connected to it...who cares about the rest of the world...the rest of the world will find out the internet is useless without the USA connected to it.



Woody79_00
I run Linux am I still a PC?
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united state

Also This will prevent China, Russia and others from stealing our IP and trying to hack our infastructure...its a win-win



AVD
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reply to Msradell

said by Msradell:

It sounds like they're going to screw up a system that is doing very well without government intervention! The Internet was started by academic entities and has grown from there. Governments were not involved in its conception you don't need to be now.

Only factual if you consider DARPA as an academic entity.
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StuartMW
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Thank you for repeating my point

»Re: Who controls the internet?
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AVD
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yeah yeah yeah... cookie for you. edit button for me.
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Name Game
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reply to StuartMW

Western dominance is the one of the biggest challenges for developing nations, says Alice Munyua, a researcher and policy development expert, representing Kenya and Africa on forums such as Icann. "It is a big concern for African governments and stakeholders, and not just because of how the internet is governed, but how it is developed from a commercial and technical perspective," she said. "There is a feeling that we are not able to participate or contribute effectively because of the lack of capacity, skills and resources, so there's a digital divide in terms of access, but also in appropriating the internet for our own development."

This, she believes, is the reason most African governments are supporting Arab proposals that countries should be compensated, by websites and internet services, for the flow of internet traffic they generate, and that wide-ranging privacy protections be introduced with exceptions for law enforcement.

Drummond said he was sympathetic with developing countries who feel excluded from the western-dominated internet industry. "But the treaty route, and the lowest common denominator approach mandating a certain set of technologies or regulations, is not the way to go." Munyua says even finding delegates who understand issues of internet management and governance can be difficult, and that with problems as basic as a unreliable electricity supply, African nations have different priorities when engaging with the ITU.

Sorry to burst the bubble..but the Internet is profit driven and not by governments but rather free interprise.

I recall of late in the case of Africa..Google has done more with other private groups to give the whole continent free wifi..all the member of ITU are only interested in "taxing" and control. Most do not even understand the role of ICANN.

The composition of this group is interesting..but on the whole I think this sums it up for me..

The ITU proposals are a ridiculous. This is two things: a basic power grab by countries who want to exercise control of what their people see; and a desire by telecom companies to 'tax' content for their own enrichment.

International politics as usual !
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dave
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reply to StuartMW

said by StuartMW:

I guess that depends on your viewpoint. DARPA (funded by the US military and hence gummint) came up with the protocols etc that form the internet.

Fair enough, but keep your American hands off the European-invented web.


AVD
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said by dave:

said by StuartMW:

I guess that depends on your viewpoint. DARPA (funded by the US military and hence gummint) came up with the protocols etc that form the internet.

Fair enough, but keep your American hands off the European-invented web.

no problem, as long as you use carrier pigeons to shuttle the packets all around.
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StuartMW
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reply to Name Game

said by Name Game:

International pPolitics as usual !

FIFY

Well as I said in another thread the internet is now considered a utility. Thus depriving anyone of it is a "violation of their human rights". Therefore it must be available to everyone everywhere for free and controlled by a "neutral" organization.
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Name Game
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1 edit

Google control much..even the stock market The Internet might be something that needs to be 'free' but unless you are taxed to get it or pay out of your own pocket..if it were not subsidized by ads..the cost to run it will not come from the tooth fairy.

»finance.yahoo.com/news/sock-futu···825.html

»www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19995730



StuartMW
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said by Name Game:

..the cost to run it will not come from the tooth fairy.

Tell the UN et al that
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caffeinator
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reply to Name Game

quote:
The US Department of Commerce NTIA exercises the ultimate authority over the DNS root zone of the Internet.[1] The zone is managed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) as the operator while a third party is contracted by the NTIA as the root zone maintainer. The IANA operator is ICANN and the root zone maintainer is Verisign, Inc.
»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNS_root_zone

As long as we control that, it's game over. Sure, the actual Internet doesn't even need DNS to work, but humans need it rather badly.

BTW, doesn't the POTUS now have the power to actually cut off the USA's networking from the outside world if there's a threat?
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KodiacZiller
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reply to dave

said by dave:

said by StuartMW:

I guess that depends on your viewpoint. DARPA (funded by the US military and hence gummint) came up with the protocols etc that form the internet.

Fair enough, but keep your American hands off the European-invented web.

Donald Davies (National Physical Laboratory, UK) developed the packet switching protocol the Internet uses. Paul Baran, Leonard Kleinrock and other Americans developed the idea first, but Davies was unaware of previous work (sort of like Newton and Leibniz). Eventually the Americans kept on with their work but decided to use the term "packet-switching" which Davies coined.

So I say let us keep America and the UK on the Internet and cut everyone else off.
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Name Game
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reply to caffeinator

Yes.. and he want's it free for everyone according to his reddit chat thing when he blows his own whistle..but he also said recently.

"If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen," he said. "The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet."



He would love the tax the heck out of it..
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Blackbird
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reply to Name Game

For the sake of perspective, the ITU has actually been around (in one form or another) since the mid 1800's, and its purpose was to negotiate telecommunications standards on an international basis so that everyone was on the same technological page. Historically the nation that developed and most advanced a given technology by the time it came before the ITU for discussion was the one who had the dominant voice in what the eventual ITU standards would become. Much of what came to constitute standards reflected what already had been proven "in action" as being necessary to make the technology work worldwide on a minimally interfering basis. As well, standards and allocations were based on the user bases and needs at the time or that could reasonably be projected at the time of the negotiations.

Only since 1947 has the ITU been part of the UN. From that time onward, in harmony with the political emphasis and disposition of the new parent organization, less focus has been made on the standards/allocations themselves and much more on the "balance" and "fairness" overtone of whatever is decided.
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Name Game
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Grand Rapids, MI
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1 recommendation

pointed out in one of the comments:

Article talks about the point of struggle for control of the internet, without identifying what's at stake:

1 - Control of root DNS servers - these are the central directors for all traffic on the internet. They absolutely have to be kept out of the hands of repressive governments who would be able to monitor traffic and trace it back to the user.

2 - Net neutrality - Here Google and the other big US corporates don't disclose their agenda where they'd dearly like to have their content prioritised over other internet traffic. The ITU strongly supports net neutrality.

3 - Internet standards and governance - Currently internet technical standards are developed in a collaborative fashion by mainly US technologists. US corporations are well represented on the boards that approve these standards. Shifting standards development to the ITU would over time alter the trajectory of the internet, to be less aligned to the interests of US corporations, and more in line with the agendas of UN membership.


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OZO
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reply to Name Game

said by Name Game:

The Internet might be something that needs to be 'free' but unless you are taxed to get it or pay out of your own pocket..if it were not subsidized by ads..the cost to run it will not come from the tooth fairy.

It could be free. But I pay for it each month. With regards to the alleged role of advertisement industry subsidizing the Internet - I'm sorry, but I block all ads on all web sites I visit. May be that has caused the worst one-day drop (7.74%) in four years for Google stock. If it has, I made my point - I don't need those freaking ads...
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OZO
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reply to Blackbird

said by Blackbird:

Only since 1947 has the ITU been part of the UN. From that time onward, in harmony with the political emphasis and disposition of the new parent organization, less focus has been made on the standards/allocations themselves and much more on the "balance" and "fairness" overtone of whatever is decided.

I personally all for it, unless it tries to make its job political. We all need (and benefit from) good standards, and don't need a new "control" in one form or the other.
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goalieskates
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land of big

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reply to Name Game

said by Name Game:

These are some of the mundane but essential logistical achievements of the International Telecommunication Union, a specialist UN agency that dates back to 1865.

1865? The UN was founded in 1945, and the telephone was invented in 1876.

Prime example of why the UN shouldn't be in charge of anything. They're sloppy, they make stuff up, and they're gosh-darned expensive.


Name Game
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reply to OZO

said by OZO:

said by Name Game:

The Internet might be something that needs to be 'free' but unless you are taxed to get it or pay out of your own pocket..if it were not subsidized by ads..the cost to run it will not come from the tooth fairy.

It could be free. But I pay for it each month. With regards to the alleged role of advertisement industry subsidizing the Internet - I'm sorry, but I block all ads on all web sites I visit. May be that has caused the worst one-day drop (7.74%) in four years for Google stock. If it has, I made my point - I don't need those freaking ads...

Yes you cause that knee jerk ..now Bob will be looking for ya He has a portfolio full of binders.

»www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19995730
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DannyZ
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reply to goalieskates

Made up? The ITU was indeed founded in 1865 and is currently a UN agency...

You do realize there were telecommunications before the telephone, right? »en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telegraphy···legraphs
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Name Game
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1 edit

Yup..blame it on the French

»www.itu.int/en/about/Pages/history.aspx

And it goes back to the telegraph...and maybe that then is the problem..telegraph companies turned into telephone companies..they existed today..now we have the internet..and all of those are not telephone( land line) companies with infrastructure..some telephone companies have to give the Internet Service providers free physical space..and in other parts of the world those telco companies want their fair share and so do their governments.

As other's have commented at that link:

"While most of the world follows the ITU, North America does not. They have ANSI/Bellcore. China and Japan have their own specifications also.

After years of promoting CDMA against GSM and finally giving in, I doubt the Americans will give up their hold on the internet that lightly."

"TED 2009 - Jonathan Zittrain: The Web as random acts of kindness

»www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_zittr···ess.html

Trying to control how every computing device on the planet talks to each other is impossible. Better that corps and agencies spend their time on finding common protocols, removing walled gardens, and accept the fact that the Internet is probably the single-most important; and single-most uncontrollable tool that mankind has at it's disposal."

" rather suspect the Internet is controlled by the US government except for the bit in China which is controlled by the Chinese government. Given its origins in the US military it is hard to get worked up about this.

In general I tend to view Google as the biggest threat to the western Internet because of its worrying use of people's confidential data and its corruption of search facilities. I suspect it has enough information on our politicians to shut them down if they cause it trouble. Fortunately it can't seem to get a handle on the faceless Eurocrats that are causing it so much trouble. It is a weird world when our only defence against Google is the EU."

"Telcos are always trying to get a slice of the content revenue. The reason isn't hard to spot, over 80 percent of the cost of broadband is incurred by the telcos building the access networks but they get a very small slice of the revenue."
_____________________________________

"..over 80 percent of the cost of broadband is incurred by the telcos building the access networks but they get a very small slice of the revenue."

Really? Why not take a look at Verizon's revenues last year, one of the so-called telco monopolists in the US (ATT and Verizon have a majority of the mobile customers). In my book $ 110 billion of annual revenues at Verizon is not "a very small slice."

»www.marketwatch.com/investing/st···nancials

What about £ 46 billion in revenues at Vodafone last year? Small too?

»www.marketwatch.com/investing/st···nancials

"Some people think of the telco operators/carriers as "dumb pipes". With the great service your telco apparently provides you (singing their praises), you are paying them through the nose for getting in the way of your content in actual fact. They throw all sorts of roadblocks and barriers up ---- bloatware on your mobile device, carrier customisation, etc--- between you and your content. All in the name of "value added". Not bad revenues for a dummy?"



ashrc4
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australia
reply to AVD

said by AVD:

said by dave:

said by StuartMW:

I guess that depends on your viewpoint. DARPA (funded by the US military and hence gummint) came up with the protocols etc that form the internet.

Fair enough, but keep your American hands off the European-invented web.

no problem, as long as you use carrier pigeons to shuttle the packets all around.

That suits us fine too...... no more aussie Wi-FI...until we go thirds.
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goalieskates
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land of big

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reply to DannyZ

And yet the ITU is exhibiting all the problems of being taken over by the bloat that is the UN, which is the whole point of the article.

I realize more than you think. It doesn't matter what they were.



Name Game
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Grand Rapids, MI
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Debunking the Rumors...

»www.nytimes.com/2012/06/11/techn···all&_r=0

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