Wednesday, November 16, 2005

It's not a 'done' internet deal

The United Nations and its greedy denizens around the globe may have given up on this initial round to wrest control of the internet from the United States, but do not think for a moment that they have given up.

Negotiators from more than 100 countries agreed late Tuesday to leave the United States in charge of the Internet's addressing system, averting a U.S.-EU showdown at this week's U.N. technology summit.

U.S. officials said early Wednesday that instead of transferring management of the system to an international body such as the United Nations, an international forum would be created to address concerns. The forum, however, would have no binding authority.

You can almost hear the word "Yet!" oozing from the AP reporters brain.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Michael D. Gallagher, however, said the deal means the United States will leave day-to-day management to the private sector, through a quasi-independent organization called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN.

The onus now lies with the developing world to bring in not just opinions, but investment to expand the Internet to their benefit, he said.

Negotiators have met since Sunday to reach a deal ahead of the U.N. World Summit on the Information Society, which starts Wednesday. World leaders are expected to ratify a declaration incorporating the deal during the summit, which ends Friday.

However, other leaders were scheduled to attend, including Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, Senegal's Abdulaye Wade and Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was due to fly to the summit Wednesday, organizers said.

The devil is in the details, and the final wording of the summit's report could contain a "gotcha" or two. Especially with Chavez yet to throw his weight around.

What generally happens when someone fails at breeching the front lines is they attempt a flanking maneuver, or a strike at the back door. That could be the case now. What if some really rich individual or group bought ICAAN and then turned it over to the U.N. as some great philathropic gesture?

Vigilance, we say. Eternal vigilance.


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