Who controls the Internet? - Jay Maynard

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Thursday, 6 October 2005


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1023 - Who controls the Internet?

The right answer: Nobody. Nevertheless, the UN and the EU seem to think that the US Department of Commerce's control over the root DNS servers gives the US "control over the Internet". They're so alarmed that they're preparing to forcibly take control.

Hogwash and horse exhaust.

Control of the namespace is nearly meaningless. With the advent of Google and similar all-encompassing search engines, the name a resource is assigned is not quite as meaningless as its IP address, but is rapidly becoming so. Controlling the namespace is going to be singularly ineffective in controlling anything about how people interact and find information on the net.

The UN and EU, with their historical inability to actually get anything done, will simply add a layer of bureaucracy to the machinery of the net, and will add no value to the process. They should be happy that the US is willing to do the job and not charge them a nickel for it. Instead, they're going to gum up the works to the extent that anyone can.

current mood: [mood icon] cynical
current music: ZZ Top - Lovething

(3 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:fionacat
Date: - 0000
(Link)
I can imagine the SAS bursting into a server room now and going.

"...right lads put the kettle on..."

Or something.

tch :)
[User Picture]
From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000
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hehehe!

It would have about the same practical effect on nearly everyone.
[User Picture]
From:wakkowarner
Date: - 0000
(Link)
Control of the namespace is nearly meaningless. With the advent of Google and similar all-encompassing search engines, the name a resource is assigned is not quite as meaningless as its IP address, but is rapidly becoming so.

I'm not sure I agree with this. Sure, some pages become the "de facto" top result in Google, but that is because people find and then link to those pages. Without a memorable name, it becomes more difficult to initially find what you're looking for, if a lot of people haven't already found it before you. Typing in "usps.gov", "mlb.com", and "cnn.com" is also a lot easier than needlessly scouring a search engine, because the domain name takes you exactly where it should without any effort.

Secondly, I feel entrusting your Internet experience to a handful of search engine sites brings up not only some interesting privacy issues, but also the problem of those search engines (or malicious third parties) deliberately tampering with search results for any of a number of reasons. It's a bit like trusting a handful of television stations for the entirety of one's news experience. I'm also not sure I feel comfortable letting Google and others know about everywhere I go on the Internet and, without some sort of simple naming convention, that would be what would happen. Everywhere I go, everything I type, would have to go through them, first, unless I somehow knew a site's IP address. And, then, what if they're messing with the results behind the scenes?


Controlling the namespace is going to be singularly ineffective in controlling anything about how people interact and find information on the net.

Maybe not how they interact, but it is certainly an effective way to find plenty of information as it is. I don't see that changing to any great extent in the near future.

For what it's worth, I do not agree with the UN and the EU's attempt to take control over DNS, and I hope it fails to gather any sort of momentum (I've been hearing about this for months, now.) It's not the way to go about things. However, it is very difficult to argue that the US does not play a disproportionate role in Internet policy. One need look no further than the strongarming of the ".xxx" domain decsion for proof of that. A balance needs to be struck somewhere.

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