US to relinquish control of Internet

Miles Fidelman mfidelman at
Sat Mar 15 22:40:25 UTC 2014

Bob Evans wrote:
>> (As if the US has "control" anyway....)
>> It's all over the "popular press", strange I haven't seen it here.
>> 	<>
>> 	<>
>> 	<>
>> 	<>
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>> Etc., etc.
>> It's nice of the DoC to "relinquish" control, but I really don't see it
>> changing much other than quieting down some hype from countries that were
>> saying they were pissed at the US for "controlling" the Internet. And I
>> couldn't really see those countries doing anything about it unless the US
>> did something actually bad, which they wouldn't do IMHO.
>> Was I being a pollyanna?
> Yep, way to optimistic. The world always wants the success of capitalism
> as long as they don't have to create the climate for it, they just want it
> handed to them. Once they have it they turn it back toward socialism and
> proceed to F%^$ it up. Gee, sound like the direction our system's been
> trying to go in for the last 6 years.

Not for nothing, but what does capitalism have to do with this?  The 
Internet was a creation of a combination of Government investment (not 
just US mind you, the ARPANET was not the only early network that ended 
up merging into the early Internet, there were European networks as 
well).  Today's Internet is a cooperative endeavor that is not "owned" 
by anyone (the pieces, of course, are); and the governance is mostly a 
cooperative endeavor (yes ICANN is under contract to the US Government, 
but primarily operates on its own). Capitalism, if anything, is a 
negative factor in the mix - as evidenced by the practices of some of 
the backbone owners and particularly the large cable and telephone 
companies who own a lot of the network edge (at least in the US, where 
access costs are higher, and bandwidths are lower, than some far more 
socialist countries).

Now one can argue about under- and over- regulation; and who is to do 
the regulating (treating US carriers under common carriage regimes 
would, IMHO, would have positive results.  Handing ICANN over to the ITU 
would create a bureacratic nightmare, for example). But that's a 
separate issue entirely - and coincidentally, the issue on the table.

As to being a pollyanna:  I agree, way to optimistic.  But not for 
reasons having to do with communism vs. socialism - but for reasons of a 
proven system that works vs. handing control over to bureaucrats who 
might F&^k it up.  Personally, I think the caveats that NTIA has 
attached to "relinquishing control" sound like somebody has got it right 
- handing ICANN over to, say ISOC might work very well (nobody complains 
about ISOC control of the IETF). The question is, whether political 
pressures will lead to a horribly bad decision.

Miles Fidelman

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice, there is.   .... Yogi Berra

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