Domain Name News
DEVELOPING COUNTRIES "MAY CHALLENGE DOMAIN GOVERNANCE"
28th November, 2003
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) is due to take place in Geneva on 10-12 December. While the published statement of the secretariat indicates that it
"aims to bring together Heads of State, Executive Heads of the United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations, civil society entities, industry leaders and media representatives to foster a clear statement of political will and concrete plan of action to shape the future of the global information society",
it appears that a more specific plan may be tabled by some countries to move Internet policy and governance (and particularly the control of the Internet domain name system) from the Californian non-profit corporation ICANN to the United Nations.
Thabo Mbeki, South African President, is reported as indicating on 16 November that he wished to see a multilateral mechanism for Internet governance and that the summit was the ideal place to do this. He is supported on this topic by other countries such as China and Brazil, while the contrary position has been adopted by the USA and the European Union. ICANN is popular with the last two because of its US-style dedication to free market forces and commitment to the values of commerce and free speech; and naturally the fact that the US itself maintains a very direct influence over ICANN's activities.
Some commentators have suggested that a group of the developing nations may band together to enforce their demands against the wealthier nations at the summit. Similar steps were taken at the World Trade Organisation talks in Mexico.
Details at: http://www.demys.net/news/2003/11/28_wsis.htm