Prepare for the Overlords!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2003

The Register: "the extraordinary history of the Internet.

Once the potential of networking an increasing number of computers across the world using phone lines had been grasped, the ITU outlined its view of the future.

It demonstrated the OSI stack that would be used to get computers to communicate with each other. It would be supplied by the huge incumbent telecoms providers and its evolution would be overseen by the ITU.

Its failure to implement this vision should be gratefully received by every man, woman and child on the planet. What arose instead was the vision of the (at that time) liberal and democratic US government. It had developed technology that was independent of the telecoms supplier and allowed computers to communicate directly with one another - it was TCP/IP and it forms the basis of the Internet.

This equipment allowed anyone to set up their own network. It was also far cheaper that ITU�s approach. The only constraint the US government put on it was that people made their network freely available to everyone. The technology was immediately seized upon by academics and computer scientists across the globe - a fact that has lent the Internet its culture borne of free speech, freely available information and software, and fierce independence from any form of control.

The ITU fought in vain to push its vision and as a result has always be viewed with suspicion by the Internet community. "

No doubt believing they were acting in the Internet’s best interests, the ICANN decision-making process soon became an abomination. The ICANN Board agreed in private what was going to happen to their invention against the hordes of people outside all clamoring for a piece of the action and it then implemented it despite whatever opposition there might be. It rewrote its rules to make sure outsiders weren't admitted to the inner sanctum so it could keep control of which way the medium went.

The result of all this was increasing fury by those with a legitimate interest. It wasn’t long before the smell of revolution was in the air.

Recognising the risk, new head Stuart Lynn drew up a reorganisation of ICANN in which the status quo could be maintained but governments voices (Western mostly) were given far more weight. The idea was to save the ICANN ideal. Once everything was in place, he stepped down to help new head and Australian Paul Twomey sell the new ICANN.

But with an ICANN that has still yet to prove itself as willing to listen, with government now making significant decisions on how the Internet is run, what exactly is the difference between it and the ITU?

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eureka, California, United States
As Popeye once said,"I ams what I am." But then again maybe I'm not