UN summit to debate internet control

The United States is heading for a showdown with much of the rest of the world over control of the internet, but few expect a consensus to emerge from a UN summit in Tunisia this week.

    About 17,000 people are expected to attend the gathering

    The notion of "internet governance" may seem an oxymoron to the 875 million users of the global computer network, which has proved stubbornly resistant to the efforts of those who wish to rid it of pornography, spam emails and other objectionable material. 
       
    The US, which gave birth to the internet, maintains control of the system that matches easy-to-remember domain names with numerical addresses that computers can understand.
       
    That worries countries such as Brazil and Iran, which have pushed to transfer control to the United Nations or some other international body.
       
    Even the European Union, where much of the business community backs the current system, has taken swipes at the US.
       
    "We just say this needs to be addressed in a more cooperative way ... under public-policy principles," said one EU official who asked not to be identified.
       
    The issue is expected to dominate the World Summit on the Information Society, which begins on Wednesday in Tunis, Tunisia.

    Internet access
       
    The summit - part diplomatic summit, part trade fair - was launched two years ago with a focus on bringing the internet and other advanced communications to less developed parts of the world.
       
    That remains a hot topic for many of the 17,000 diplomats, human-rights activists and technology experts expected to attend.
       
    Internet access in the developing world will always remain expensive as long as governments allow their telecommunications monopolies to discourage competition, said Allen Miller, a senior vice-president at the Information Technology Association of America.
           
    Over the past two years, tension between the haves and have-nots has shifted from the question of who has access to the internet to who controls its plumbing. 

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.