UN: US Should Not Control Internet

A United Nations panel tasked with how to govern the Internet in the future came up with four different plans, although the panel did agree that the United States could not continue holding complete control. The U.S. government, however, said it had no plans to give up control of the computers that handle Internet traffic.

World leaders will consider the options put forth by the panel at an "Information Society" summit in November. One of the proposals does keep the current method as is for the most part, with ICANN maintaining control of how Internet address are used.

The other plans to varying degrees turn over the power to the United Nations; however, the head of the 40-member panel Markus Kummer said, "in the end it will be up to governments, if at all, to decide if there will be any change."

At the last Information Society meeting in December 2003, leaders failed to agree on a plan to revamp the way the Internet is controlled.

The U.S. funded much of the early development of the Internet and has mostly controlled it since its inception. But some want a more international role in the governance of the Internet, especially developing nations.

Countries would like faster approval of non-English domain names, as ICANN has resisted those requests saying they could be used in phishing scams because of the way a computer translates the domain name into English characters.

"In some of the early tests ... it became clear we had opened up the opportunity for registering very misleading names," head of ICANN Vint Cerf said in a recent conference call. "This kind of potential confusion leads to parties going to what they think are valid Web sites."

China last year even threatened to split from the Internet so it could offer its citizens Chinese-language domain names.

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