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The Letter That Won US Internet Control 576

Posted by samzenpus
from the send-an-angry-email dept.
K-boy writes "Pushing my own scoop, but I think it's a valuable piece of Net history, I have come into possession of the vital letter sent by Condoleezza Rice to the EU over Internet governance. And posted it on the Web. The letter is pretty stern but you should also read it bearing in mind that letters of this type are not only very rare but they are always written in very, very soft diplomatic language. This was not. The result of the letter was that the EU dropped its plan for an inter-governmental oversight body for the Internet and we have ended up with the status quo (ICANN, US government control). The letter was never meant for publication."
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The Letter That Won US Internet Control

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  • by eneville (745111) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @12:35PM (#14178550) Homepage
    Surely, at most, the control can only be over the root NS. If it's anything else, the UK citizens can always instruct their DNS cache to only respond on *.uk... Problems may occour for mirror sites of course.
    • Problems may occour for mirror sites of course.

      Is occour the British spelling of occur?
    • The letter had nothing to do with the UK individually, except that the UK currently hold EU presidency, the country of which changes every 6 months.
  • How! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jollyroger1210 (933226) <jollyroger1210@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Sunday December 04, 2005 @12:36PM (#14178552) Homepage Journal
    How did you get this letter, and why did you post it? Isn't that slightly illegal?
    • Re:How! (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Xaositecte (897197)
      As long as it wasn't classified, and he didn't come into possession of it by stealing from Embassy Mailboxes, there's nothing illegal about it.
      • Re:How! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jon Chatow (25684) *
        That's not entirely true. It could quite well be non-classified but privileged information, and so passing it on (and, certainly, publishing it) would be a violation of the Official Secrets Act.
        • Re:How! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Gumber (17306) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @02:21PM (#14179153) Homepage
          Why should a letter like this even be privileged information after it has been issued?

          This administration has gone crazy for secrecy, classifying more documents than any previous administartion. We shouldn't roll over and accept that a letter like this should be anything but completely public.
    • No. It is almost never illegal for a journalist to post truthful and lawfully obtained information.
      • Re:How! (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 04, 2005 @01:05PM (#14178710)
        No. It is almost never illegal for a journalist to post truthful and lawfully obtained information.

        Bull. It varies dramatically by country. Printing classified information is almost always illegal.

        And many countries of the world throw journalists in jail if they annoy the government.

        The government of Tunisia (host of the WSIS conference) does this all the time.

        Robert Mugabe, dictator of Zimbabwe, said at the WSIS conference said that there is too much freedom of speech on the internet, and got huge applause.

        That's why you want to keep ICANN under US control. Could ICANN do a better job? Probably. But it would be far, far worse under UN control.
        • Re:How! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymovs Coward (724746) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @01:26PM (#14178821)
          It's not just dictatorial countries: the British have a draconian "Official Secrets Act" and recently used it to clamp down [guardian.co.uk] on a memo that purportedly said Bush wanted to bomb Al Jazeera's headquarters in Qatar (a US ally) thereby killing hundreds of journalists, and Blair talked him out of it. Initially nobody believed it (Bush can't be THAT dumb) but since the Brits have clamped down it must be true...
          • It's not just dictatorial countries: the British have a draconian "Official Secrets Act" and recently used it to clamp down on a memo that purportedly said Bush wanted to bomb Al Jazeera's headquarters in Qatar (a US ally) thereby killing hundreds of journalists, and Blair talked him out of it. Initially nobody believed it (Bush can't be THAT dumb) but since the Brits have clamped down it must be true...

            I found that to be quite amusing too. The real story was the crackdown on the publication of the memo,
          • I have conclusive proof of the Roswell incident, if only I can get it to you before I am cens :@SD{F CGV NO CARRIER. (that film sounded funny)
    • Yes, the ninja nazis will shortly arrive from the black helicopthers.

      Please wait patiently until that happens.

      Party officer^W^WFreedom Officer from the free Oceania^WUnited States of America.

      Thank you for your cooperation.
    • Honourable? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by rbochan (827946) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @01:51PM (#14178971) Homepage
      "The Right Honourable Jack Straw..."

      Out of curosity, since when would an American English user use the British English spelling?

      Also, would an "official diplomatic entity allow" a raw typo like:
      "growth and adaptation , based on" (extra space)

      Sure, it could be a typo by the editor, this is The Register ® , of course.

      • Re:Honourable? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by 1u3hr (530656)
        Out of curosity, since when would an American English user use the British English spelling? Also, would an "official diplomatic entity allow" a raw typo like: "growth and adaptation , based on" (extra space)

        Either could be transcription errors; it was probably on paper when received. Possibly also if the letter was drafted in London they may use British spelling, at least for communication with the British govt. Diplomats are supposed ot be sensitive to nuances like that; though that level of cultural se

        • Re:Honourable? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @03:59PM (#14179637)

          As others have noted, it's a formal title. In the UK, it applies to members of the Privy Council, which includes the Cabinet, and to various nobles with historic titles. Hence, as Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw is addressed formally in written correspondence as "The Right Honourable Jack Straw".

          You'll also hear members of parliament refer to "The honourable member for <place>" during debates, for those MPs who aren't Privy Counsellors, or to "The right honourable member for <place>" for those who are. I'm sure you can find more details somewhere like Wikipedia if you're interested.

      • Re:Honourable? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by squiggleslash (241428)
        Jack Straw is British, so you'd expect someone writing to him to use the British spelling of his title. It's an extension of the same principle that an American English "user" might write to the President of France in French.
      • Re:Honourable? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dun Malg (230075)
        "The Right Honourable Jack Straw..."

        Out of curosity, since when would an American English user use the British English spelling?

        As evidenced by the fact that it's capitalized, it's an official title. You don't "correct" the spelling of someone's title. That's be like "correcting" the spelling of their name.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 04, 2005 @12:38PM (#14178567)
    I don't see any hard comments in the letter. It's just like another soft-diplomatic letter to me. Is the submitter trying to get up a flamewar? no, not on /.
    • by WindBourne (631190) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @01:27PM (#14178828) Journal
      Actually, it is not soft, but it is also not that hard.

      What it really is, is a letter written by somebody in commerce (probably at nist), who understands the technical terminology, and then softened by the head of commerce and signed by Rice.

      If you have ever read any of Rice's work, you would quickly realize that little to nothing in here is from her.
    • I don't see any hard comments in the letter. It's just like another soft-diplomatic letter to me.

      The submitter seems to be European. The site it's hosted on is European. By European standards, this letter might seem harsh. By American standards, it's pretty mild.

      I'm not trying to start a flamewar myself, but I think it's a pretty well known thing that Americans are by and large plain-spoken people, whatever side of the political fence you're on (though that's changing a bit as "marketing-speak" starts t
      • By European standards, this letter might seem harsh. By American standards, it's pretty mild.

        I don't think it's harsh even by European standards. To me it reads like "we've always controlled the Internet, everything has worked fine, let's not try to fix something that isn't broken." It simply makes sense, and everyone agreed.

  • Kick ass, Condi! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Woldry (928749) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @12:38PM (#14178569) Journal
    Way to go.

    The alarming thing, though, I guess, is that this is considered "strong language" in diplomatic circles. It strikes me as direct, but quite tactful.

    • by azav (469988)
      Well, Condi and Gonzales. Two kids whom I'm not terribly fond of.

      But, where is the strong wording here? This appears to read as straight, polite, directed and to the point.

      The internet's structure (sans spam) seems to be working well. Why change it. If Mongolia created the internet and kept it working fine, I'm sure that most of the users would be ok with that - sans little fears and a bit of "why can't our country run out part of it" pride.

      But I do agree with Condi and Gonzales in this case. We create
      • I'm worried that I'm feeding a troll here, but I'll take your post at face value.

        The internet's structure (sans spam) seems to be working well. Why change it.

        It's not bad, but there's plenty that could be improved. Ask yourself why:

        • the original protocols haven't evolved to keep up with use, resulting in many pseudo-standards and a lot of edge cases that don't work
        • spam is rendering things like e-mail and Usenet less usable by the day
        • identity theft and large scale fraud are being perpetrated on a wi
  • by caffeinemessiah (918089) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @12:38PM (#14178570) Journal
    I know this issue has been discussed a lot, and I'm all for keeping things the way they are (it simply works). HOWEVER, what does concern me is growing evidence of U.S. puritanism in the decision process, like the blocking of the .xxx domain on what seems like shallow premises. While the benefits of .xxx are a separate issue altogether, I doubt if European audiences would resist something like that unless they had a very strong reason to do so. I say let ICANN keep control as long as it doesn't become puritan-ized.
    • Say they build XXX.. what then do you do about all the millions of smut websites in existence? force them to move?
      what if someone has MUFFDIVER.COM and someone else has MUFFDIVE.NET.

      My guess? the government took a good long look at the first amendment, and other legal issues, and realized, it would not solve any problem, and perhaps, a court case would arise (which they realize they would have to lose) embarrisingly enough.

      Maybe that same case would open up a whole 'nuther mess of worms that would not be
      • This is really not a valid argument. First of all, you can't possibly FORCE smut vendors to use .xxx -- first, it's impossible, and second, it goes against the nature of the Internet. Secondly, please remember that the First Amendment you refer to is an AMERICAN constitutional amendment. It isn't right to bind the Internet -- undeniably an international entity now -- by American laws. Even if you were, I very much doubt that free speech would allow a blanket ban on the .xxx domain. My question is this: gra
      • So why did they grant ".biz", ".info" etc.? And don't tell me they don't grant ".xxx" because they actually learned somthing.
    • by Z34107 (925136) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @01:41PM (#14178922)

      HOWEVER, what does concern me is growing evidence of U.S. puritanism in the decision process, like the blocking of the .xxx domain on what seems like shallow premises

      It's not so much the domain name that got blocked, per se (as other posters have said, .biz and .info were no problem) but the idea of forcing "adult content providers" *cough* pornographers *cough* to use the .xxx domain and the .xxx domain only. It would make censorship easy, but how the heck would you force about 70% of the internet to move onto one domain? It got kaboshed not because of puritanism but practicality.

  • underwhelming (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Sunday December 04, 2005 @12:39PM (#14178571) Homepage Journal
    if that is strong language, I don't want to read the 'soft' letters that are usually written. She lays out the reasons they want things the way they are and asks for the change to be reconsidered. After reading the summary I was expecting something more egregious.
     
    There are a lot of folks here with a wide range of experience. Someone please explain to me why I should think this is a big deal.
    • Re:underwhelming (Score:5, Insightful)

      by smallpaul (65919) <paul AT prescod DOT net> on Sunday December 04, 2005 @12:46PM (#14178615)
      I think that the poster just hyped it. Further, I notice that the letter was co-signed by Condi. I'd bet anything that she was just asked if it would be okay for her name to go along with Guiterrez's, but that the letter actually originated in his office. The poster focused on the Rice angle because that seems more exciting than a letter from the Secretary of Commerce. Hype, hype, hype.
    • What are you talking about? This is the kind of imperialism the United States has been exerting since WW2! (Tong placed firmly in cheek.)
    • Re:underwhelming (Score:5, Insightful)

      by globalar (669767) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @01:03PM (#14178700) Homepage
      Let's assume this letter is legitimate and that the Register is right. The language is not strong per se, but the controversial points are 1)directed against the EU position, 2)specifically unilateral (no "coalition" babble) and 3)the EU position is criticized explicitly.

      All three of these are typically mediated in diplomacy through indirection. You don't want to trap yourself, because words are your best tool (unless you are willing to make physical threats or change associations). It's convention that most of diplomacy is filler content designed to continue a relationship along the status quo. Redefining a relationship or asserting a new position are all actions with finality. That is usually reserved for when such actions are necessary.

      For example, you would normally speak directly against a general position and not directly mention your opponent's position as their position. Neither would you speak from your position as solely your position (the U.S., Iran, North Korea, and China are exceptions) - you would express a general opinion developed from some previous consensus, like a document, or some rhetorical one. Finally, you would not crticize the opponents position, but suggest considerations and alternatives. Labeling an opponent's position with negative terminology and then contrasting that with your positive position is generally viewed as "strong."
    • Re:underwhelming (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fupeg (653970)
      I must disagree. I am no diplomat and have no experience in international affairs. I have been around the corporate world for awhile though, and the language used here would be considered pretty strong there. The letter says that the key to the success of the internet is the lack of government control. It then directly criticizes the EU's position saying that it would exert government control. If this was an internal issue to a company it would be like saying "hey what you are proposing will be disastorous
      • by delong (125205)
        I have been around the corporate world for awhile though, and the language used here would be considered pretty strong there

        What corporate world have you been inhabiting? Apparently not the American corporate world, and definately not New York.
  • by spectrokid (660550) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @12:40PM (#14178578) Homepage
    Can the US, as it is now, stop French surfers from reaching a .FR domain? Can they stop them from reaching a .EU domain?
    • by Jan-Pascal (21029) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @12:54PM (#14178664) Homepage
      Yes, they can. The root zone ( "." ) contains the IP addresses of the .fr name servers. French ISPs usually will not have the .fr name servers hard coded, but will ask the root servers (which are hard coded, bind9 has them in the "root.db" file) where to find the .fr name servers. As long as ICANN controls the root zone file, they could remove the .fr DNS servers from it. Then, French surfers would not be able to resolve .fr domain names. Until the French ISPs would hard-code the .fr name servers, that is.

      Jan-Pascal
      • This has never been done before, and never will be done. This is just a flimsy excuse generated by the UN which wants to tax and censor the internet.
      • by InsaneGeek (175763) <slashdot@nOSpaM.insanegeeks.com> on Sunday December 04, 2005 @03:07PM (#14179388) Homepage
        Umm.... any DNS operator worth his salt will try to limit requests to the "." In the local hints file he should have most of all the tld's so his server shouldn't go asking who's authoritative for .fr By doing that not only do they reduce the load the other dns servers it also would limit affects from what you are suggesting. Where you seem to imply that hard coding is something not done, I'd say that it should be something that everybody already is doing. True at this time the central authority for the hints file everybody downloads comes from ICANN, but if ICANN decided to shove all .fr somewhere else; all you'd have to do is *not* change your local information.
    • In theory, the US government could direct ICANN to remove the IP address of the .FR server from the root zone. In practice, such a move would backfire badly. There are many root servers, managed by volunteers. Not all of them are American, and even those who are are not particularly obedient to the US government. The order would be immediately discussed all over the Internet, ICANN would almost immediately loose its power, and most root servers would simply keep the old data.

      The ".EU" situation is more com

  • >> We believe that ICANN is dedicated to achieving broad representation of global Internet communities and to developing policy through consensus-based processes.

    I am all for the ICANN doing its business. Heck, I would hate to have some big government manage the Internet. HOWEVER, I also do wish that the current administration would keep its grubby paws off the Internet as well! I am referring to the hoopla regarding the xxx domains!
  • Right... (Score:5, Funny)

    by djupedal (584558) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @12:46PM (#14178617)
    The letter was never meant for publication

    You're new to politics, I take it..?
  • by djkitsch (576853) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @12:47PM (#14178626)
    What are the chances that Condoleezza Rice actually has any clue what the "authoritative root zone file" is?

    I get the feeling that the head honchos at ICANN basically ran out of decent arguments for maintaining control ("erm, we just like the power buzz!") and just went for big political guns. I mean really, like there's a good excuse for keeping control other than potential political blackmail.

    The Net was created by the US government, a whole bunch of US, Asian and Europeans built the hardware running it and a British guy invented the Web. Doesn't look like multicultural involvement has made it terribly unstable. I think China's Great Firewall is an excellent example of what happens when one government has too much control.

    Call me cynical...
    • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @01:26PM (#14178820)

      What are the chances that Condoleezza Rice actually has any clue what the "authoritative root zone file" is?


      Pretty high. Dr. Rice is a very bright person with a background as provost at Stanford. It wouldn't take long for her to understand the concept if indeed just the name 'authoritative root zone file' didn't imply enough.

      • she was also a child prodigy. I get the impression she is an incredibly intelligent person.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 04, 2005 @06:35PM (#14180523)
          I don't know what "child prodigy" even means any more, but if it means she got her degree at 19, then Rice is a prodigy.

          She's also a classically trained concert pianist, as if all that other stuff weren't enough.

          You can agree or disagree with her politics, and I happen to disagree strongly, but you can't deny that she's what they call "one of the great minds of our generation." She just happens to stand as proof that you can be totally brilliant and wrong at the same time. ;-)
    • " What are the chances that Condoleezza Rice actually has any clue what the "authoritative root zone file" is?"

      What are the chances Rice wrote this in the first place? It was only cosigned by her (along with Guiterrez), and I believe writing this type of thing is almost always delegated down to someone with expert knowledge in whatever field is being discussed. Her signature just means she supports the position outlined. The article just said it was from Condoleezza Rice because she is a well known mem

  • by calyptos (752073) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @12:48PM (#14178630) Homepage
    ICANN is not a US government organization. It just happens to be on US soil (just like the UN).

    ICANN encourages government [icann.org] representation, which includes any country. They even have meetings [icann.org] all across the world, there's no excuse for these concerned countries not to participate.

    People seem to think that because ICANN agreed with the US on the .xxx tld, that the US made the decision. They just happened to agree that its unenforcable and stupid.
    • by Yokaze (70883)
      > ICANN is not a US government organization. It just happens to be on US soil (just like the UN).

      No. It is a non-profit company based in the US (under US law), working on exclusive contract with US Department, while taxing people all over the world (2/3 of income supposedly from Europe, due to ccTLDs)

      The U.N. is a multinational organisation, where its headquarter happens to be situated in New York on have extraterritorial soil.

      > ICANN encourages government representation,

      Oh, that's nice. Guess, why t
    • by Wiz (6870)
      Sure, ICANN does like to involve other countries but it's ultimate boss is the US government. I don't want it to be under UN control, but I don't want it to be under the US government control.

      Clinton agreed to make it independent, but that changed:

      The US government, which funded the development of the internet in the 60s, said in June it intended to retain its role overseeing Icann, reneging on a pledge made during Bill Clinton's presidency. Since Icann was created, the US commerce department has not onc

  • FYI, the reason the U.S. Secretary of Commerce signed this was because the original government oversight, which is now semi-private through ICANN, was under the Commerce department. The current contract, to my knowledge, is still sole-sourced to ICANN through Commerce.
  • a new low (Score:5, Funny)

    by intmainvoid (109559) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @12:49PM (#14178637)
    The letter is pretty stern [...] they are always written in very, very soft diplomatic language. This was not.

    I know this is Slashdot, but it looks like even the submitter hasn't read the article! Kind of odd as they also appear to be the person that wrote it...

  • Stern letter? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by teslatug (543527) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @12:53PM (#14178656)
    It doesn't seem all that stern to me. I'd hate to see what's considered very very soft. I was half expecting to see Rice threatening to fuckiing bury that EU.
  • 'The letter is pretty stern [clip] but they are always written in very, very soft diplomatic language. This was not.'

    BS - this was as routinely softball as they come.
    STERN: (of an act or statement) strict and severe; using extreme measures or terms. How was this letter 'pretty severe'?

    Hardly anything 'stern' or extreme about such phrases as '...in the spirit'

    As for the claim that the wicked witch sent it, Carlos signed it as well, with his name before hers, signaling tacit involvment by her at th
  • by Mostly a lurker (634878) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @12:58PM (#14178679)
    The letter appears plausible. However, I could find nothing to indicate how the poster came into possession of the letter. Under those circumstancs, I am not ready to accept it as genuine.
  • Where's the proof? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@co[ ]ll.edu ['rne' in gap]> on Sunday December 04, 2005 @02:01PM (#14179025) Homepage
    Others have noted grammatical errors highly unlikely in a diplomatic letter.

    Even without those errors - Where is the proof that this is real?
  • by the-ghoul (630892) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @02:04PM (#14179044)
    From: Condi (C-note) Rice, State Dept.

    To: Jack Straw and my dogs in theForeign affairs committee , london

    Listen Bitches,

    The way the internet is ran is important to us in the US. It contributes to our gdp by way of Amazon, Ebay, Skype, Pr0n and Google. We believe our crew should continue to run it. Theres tons more loot to be made and we need make sure our cut isnt disturbed.

    As the big summit meeting approaches we want to let you know that the internet in its current supervision is the path we should all maintain. We will not accept any change of governance.

    Now a good pimp will realize that you cant have employees on every corner. You get a piece and we get a piece. Thats how we show love and mad respect. We dont need one large pimp orgaziniation and a bunch of street clockers slowing the flow and skimming off the top.

    You can bet damn-sure that we will enforce without predjudice and with Shock-and-awe our four prinicples we sent you earlier. Its nothing personal, just business yo.

    The US and European Unions have been rolling together for some time now, and we appreciate all your support in our drive-bys in Iraq,Afghanland and points east. But dont mistake our kindness for weakness. The internet was created by our vice president Al Gore, and we must have our sovereignty. Respect is earned not given.

    Cool, we out. Dont forget to swing by our Christmas house party at 1600 pensylvania ave in wash, dc. Chicken and beer will be served.

    One,
    C-Note

  • by Ararat (716144) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @02:46PM (#14179287)
    Is K-boy online here?

    The Register is a very opinionated publication, and this article, like most, is heavily laden with emotional bias and innuendo. I have no problem with that, per se, but I am confused because K-boy's articles from the Tunis conference seemed to be contradictory.

    I recall one article which quoted the head of the ITU bragging that -- because of EC support? -- the ITU (the international consortium of telephone companies and nationalized telephone utilities) would control the Internet within five years. K-boy, the Register reporter, was appropriately horrified at that prospect, and pointed out that ITU controls in the past would have quashed the Internet, simply never let it be born.

    Now, however, in his article about Rice's forceful US defense of the status quo, the same reporter seems again disturbed (if perhaps less than horrified) that the US is not more open to international governmental influences, and is not more willing to adapt Internet control to the likes of the ITU.

    So where *do* you stand, K-boy?

    Many of us Netcitizens are willing to put up with the imperfections of the current Internet governance -- hoping that strong contractual obligations on an independent administrator will, minimally, guarrantee the ongoing availability of connections -- rather than see control of the Net slide into the hands of greedy, lowest-common-denominator, trans-national bureaucrats, of which the ITU is a preeminent example.

    Didn't Condi's letter and the US lobbying campaign save us from the ITU, a fate worst than (or perhaps equivalent to) death for the Internet as we know it?

    One thing Rice's letter suggested to me was the advantage of the home-town team, the established owner and manager, over uppity rebels with independent ideas. The same thing, I fear, would be true of the advantage the ITU regulators would have over disorganized international libertarians, if the US were to declare the Net's infrastructure to be up for grabs. If Internet governance -- which may only today be an oximoron -- were to slide into the international political arena, wouldn't it only be a matter of time before Real Control would be seized by the organization with the best financing, technical savvy, and skills at political infighting?

    The current ITU president obviously thinks that it is a foregone conclusion that the ITU would be that organization. Anyone want to predict the future of the Net that would follow?

    What does the history of the ITU tell us about the prospects for future innovation and disruptive change in an Internet controlled by the ITU?

    Just because the US government is a proponent of a position does not mean that it is wrong.

  • by br00tus (528477) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @02:59PM (#14179361)
    "The history of the Internet's extraordinary growth and adaptation, based on private-sector innovation and investment, offers compelling arguments against burdening the network with a new intergovernmental structure for oversight."

    What? The history of the Internet's growth was based on private-sector investment? Intergovernmental structure would be a burden? As everybody on Slashdot knows, this is a complete rewrite of history. From the late 1960s and before even that, up until the mid-1990s when NSFnet began handing things over to corporate America, the Internet was funded by, invested in, and overseen by the US government. There was absolutely no private-sector investment, just government funds sent to the private sector. The government paid for decades of R&D to create the Internet, and oversaw its creation. Now she is trying to claim that the Internet was created by private sector investment, and that government oversight would just cramp what she says the private-sector investment created. And of course, neither she nor Bush has any intentions of removing government oversight from the Internet. What a joke!

    • by Brandybuck (704397) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @03:54PM (#14179611) Homepage Journal
      And of course, neither she nor Bush has any intentions of removing government oversight from the Internet.

      Of course not! Since there currently is no government oversight for the internet, there's no way to remove it! That's what all the controversy is about. The EU and the UN want someone to be in CONTROL of the internet, because they fear its laissez faire and unregulated nature.

      The point everyone except Condoleeza seem to be missing is that the internet doesn't need governing!
    • The Internet's "extraordinary growth and adaptation..." really occured when the network was opened up to the public in the early 1990s. Before that, it was primarily a research and communications tool developed initially with the Department of Defense (DARPAnet) and academia. Yes, we had private networks in the 1980s, ala AOL, Compuserve, Prodigy, Genie, etc., but there was still no "Internet" as we know it today.

      Private-sector funding, in conjuction with many government grants, throughout the 1990s ushered in a completely different era in the Internet's history. Had the powers at be continued to restrict access, we'd have something that looks like Internet2.

      As for your statement regarding "absolutely no private-sector investment," I'm fairly certain that following companies will strongly disagree:

      • Routing equipment: Nortel, Cisco, 3Com, etc
      • Lines: AT&T, SBC, MCI, Sprint
      • Fiber: OI
      • Software: Sun, Microsoft, Apple, *nix developers

      That list can continue on and on, but I think you get the point. I'm not sure where you're from, but here in the US, Uncle Sam does NOT lay telephone wire/fiber/cable. Once again, private-sectore investment.

      Does this mean that the Internet was invented by the private-sectore, no; merely, the Internet as we now know it was built through private-sector investments.

      Adding levels of bureaucratic oversight to anything constrains development. NASA is a good example of this. Adding "Safety" committees to make sure space travel is 99.999999% safe has brought development of new/risky programs to a crawl.

      As a side note, I don't see the purpose of political bashing here. I highly doubt anyone else in either Rice's or Bush's position would gladly give up control of the Internet.

  • by penguin-collective (932038) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:41PM (#14179835)
    The US doesn't really "control" the Internet; instead, other nations choose to use the same conventions as the US--for now. If the US screws up on governance, the rest of the world can create its own system. Furthermore, the transition to such a system could be done fairly quickly and with backwards compatibility.

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