ICANN Considers Seeking International Immunity - Blame Bush and the DHS
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Just for the moment, letís take the view that ICANN is not a corrupt organization. Is there some legitimate reason to believe that an international model, one that puts them above the laws of any one nation, is more appropriate for their mission? Well, itís easy enough to point to the fact that the Internet is available in some form or another in every country that can handle the technology. Since the net is international (why else would we call it the World Wide Web?), shouldnít the organization that oversees it be international as well?
Thatís a sensible argument on its face, but it may not be the one thatís foremost in ICANNís mind. And in certain quarters it absolutely will not fly. ICANN currently comes under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Bush administration would not want to loosen its grip on the organization, considering its role.
The U.S. casts a long shadow over the Internet, and while President Bush might like it that way, others do not, both within and outside the country. For example, you may remember ICANNís rejection Ė yet again Ė of the .xxx domain, which I wrote about recently. The organization cited technical reasons for rejecting it, as well as a desire to avoid getting into the content control business. Many religious organizations were not happy with the idea of a .xxx domain, and many adult web site owners didnít care for it either.
But what may have really upset ICANN was that the Bush administration didnít like the idea, and decided to get involved. According to the Inquirer, ďthe fact that the government decided to intervene directly in its operations spooked committee members.Ē If the Internet is truly international, it is arguable that no one government should have that kind of influence.
It gets worse though. The Department of Homeland Security wants to hold the key that signs the DNS root zone Ė essentially the keys to the Internet. Anyone with this master key can track DNS Security Extensions (DNSSec) back to the servers that represent the name systemís root zone. In plain English, the system is designed to prevent attacks on the DNS by governments Ė and if the DHS holds the key, it would let the U.S. government spoof IP addresses while preventing anyone else from doing so. Arguably, no single government should control that database Ė and thatís one reason ICANN wants to get out from under U.S. law.
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