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By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website   Read more about this blog.
Posted: November 27th, 2012
U.N. seeks control of the Internet

Next week, the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union will meet in Dubai in what the Wall Street Journal is headlining as a “sneak attack.” On the agenda is what to do about controlling the Internet.

Right now, no one controls the Internet. No one country, anyway. But there are plenty of countries out of the 193 members of the U.N. that are none too happy about the freewheeling, uncensored nature of this form of communication. According to the WSJ article China, Russia, Iran and Arab countries are trying to hijack a U.N. agency that has nothing to do with the Internet, as they’ve lobbied that agency to take over the rules and workings of the Internet. Obviously, these countries don’t support a free and open Internet.

What I found interesting was the clear explanation about how the Internet currently operates, which is excerpted here:  ”The Internet is made up of 40,000 networks that interconnect among 425,000 global routes, cheaply and efficiently delivering messages and other digital content among more than two billion people around the world, with some 500,000 new users a day.

Many of the engineers and developers who built and operate these networks belong to virtual committees and task forces coordinated by an international nonprofit called the Internet Society. The society is home to the Internet Engineering Task Force (the main provider of global technical standards) and other volunteer groups such as the Internet Architecture Board and the Internet Research Task Force. Another key nongovernmental group is Icann, which assigns Internet addresses and domain names.

The self-regulating Internet means no one has to ask for permission to launch a website, and no government can tell network operators how to do their jobs. The arrangement has made the Internet a rare place of permissionless innovation.”

Well, isn’t that refreshing?

I have to agree with the reporter, that having ”the Internet rewired by bureaucrats would be like handing a Stradivarius to a gorilla.”

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