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The EU “gets it”

Viviane Reding, who is the European Union (EU) Commissioner for Information Society and Media, wrote an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal1 that convinced me the EU “gets it”. In my last post on the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis, I argued that governments should not control the root zone file, or in a broader scale, govern the Internet. In her piece, she used the one word I failed to include in my last post that sums my point perfectly: privitize. Expanded a bit: I’d like to see less, if not zero, government involvement in controlling the Internet and seen it run by the business sector… to rephrase my view in Reading’s terms… keep control of the Internet in the private sector, not the public sector.

Reding made specific points, all of which I fully agree with and are worth pointing out:

  • “The EU advocates a free, stable, democratic Internet open to the world.”
  • “… we believe governments should not have a say in the day-to-day management of the Internet.  To involve them could result in unnecessarily burdensome structures and even endanger its stability. The EU therefore supports an approach to the Internet governance that even further removes government control from ICANN.”
  • The next step, therefore, should be to complete the privitization process of the day-to-day management of the Internet by phasing out the oversight functions of the U.S. Department of Commerce over ICANN.” (yes yes yes!!!)
  • “Only in this way will we spread the understanding that freedom of expression on the Internet is the starting point, not only for a democratic development of societies, but also for their prosperity.”
  • To do so, we certainly don’t need to establish any new structures nor call in the U.N.

Cheers Ms. Reding… next round is on me… I couldn’t have said it better myself!

1 “ICANN?  We All Can.” by Viviane Reding – Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, November 16, 2005, pg A18.

A Last Minute Deal to Avoid a Showdown at the WSIS

Late today, the critics of the U.S. stance on retaining control over ICANN, signed an agreement to form an “Internet Governance Forum” that will meet in 2006 “under the auspices of the United Nations.  The forum is meant to be a central point for global discussions of everything from computer security and online spam and other ‘misuses of the Internet.’” – CNET [article linked below].

What this doesn’t do is force the U.S. to relinquish it’s control (err… influence) over ICANN.  Unfortunately I would have liked to see ICANN be removed from the U.S. shadow, but at least the U.N. didn’t get control. I do like the idea of a global forum where countries can get together to talk about how to combat common issues like spam and viruses.

The article linked below “U.S. reaches Net detente with U.N.” on CNET has an interesting mention about a proposal the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) that advocates a “’market-based solution’ approach rather than have expanded U.N. control. So have a roster of tech companies, including Google, IBM, and Microsoft”.  Sounds like what I proposed in my last post.

» U.S. reaches Net detente with U.N. [via CNET]» FAQ: World Summit on the Information Society [via CNET]

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