Foreign Affairs Asks "Who Will Control the Internet?"

An interesting read for anyone interested in the political economy of IT. Somehow the mainstream press did not talk much about the June 30 US Department of Commerce statement that effectively announced "that the United States plans to retain control of the Internet indefinitely" and this author, Kenneth Neil Cukier, aptly described as "a sort of Monroe Doctrine for our times".

Among other things, Cukier offers an interesting discussion of internet governance and pokes holes in the "cherished myth...that the Internet is totally decentralized and inherently uncontrollable". Among the more contentious claims he makes should sound familiar to those used to standard debates over the desirability of greater UN involvement (viz. a viz. the US) in addressing global issues: "As the overseer of the domain name system, the United States has taken a liberal approach in keeping with its liberal values. There is no guarantee that an intergovernmental system would continue on such a course, and so even committed internationalists ought to be wary of changing how the system is run.

This is especially so since the very countries that most restrict the Internet within their borders are the ones calling loudest for greater control". Whatever the merits of this claim, it is apparent that cyberspace is not, and will not be, an anarchic utopia. Ergo politics.

Internet, governance

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