TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: UN Panel Aims to End Internet Tug of War by July

UN Panel Aims to End Internet Tug of War by July

Lisa Minter (
23 Feb 2005 07:11:09 -0800

GENEVA (Reuters) - A U.N.-sponsored panel aims to settle a
long-running tug of war for control of the Internet by July and
propose solutions to problems such as cyber crime and email
spam, panel leaders announced.

The panel, set up in December 2003, will lay groundwork for a final
decision to be taken in Tunis in November at a U.N.-sponsored World
Summit on the Information Society, where global control of the world
wide web may be decided.

Right now, the most recognizable Internet governance body is a
California-based non-profit company, the International Corporation for
Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

But developing countries want an international body, such as the
U.N.'s International Telecommunication Union (ITU), to have control
over governance -- from distributing Web site domains to fighting

"There is an issue that is out there and that needs to be resolved,"
said Nitin Desai, chairman of working group and special adviser to
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Incorporated in 1998, ICANN oversees management of the Internet's
crucial addressing system which matches numerical addresses to
familiar Web site addresses.

While its oversight has been confined to technical matters, critics
say that it is subject to U.S. political influence.

The ITU, a 138-year-old trade body that among other things established
country code rules for international telephone calls, is seen by
developing countries as being better able to address their needs.

All countries want to counter spam -- unsolicited commercial messages
that can flood email accounts by the hundreds and burden the web with
unwanted traffic.

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