Battle for Internet Control Heating Up

NEW YORK, NY — A United Nations subcommittee may recommend shifting control over many of the Internet’s functions from the United States to either the U.N. or the International Telecommunications Union.

The subcommittee’s report, due July 18, follows increased criticism from foreign representatives who say America’s grip on the Internet, via such organizations as the ICANN, is arbitrary and ineffective.

"There's more and more spam every day. Who are the victims? Developing and least-developed countries,” a Syrian representative testified before the committee, a “working group” empaneled to discuss decentralization of the Internet’s control.

“There is no serious intention to stop this spam by those who are the transporters of the spam, because they benefit,” the representative continued.

A Brazilian spokesperson decried ICANN’s creation of the sponsored top-level domain .XXX, saying the decision was made without discussion between countries that would be affected by it.

“We are very worried about this kind of decision-making process where they [ICANN] simply decide upon creating such new top-level generic domain names," the Brazilian spokesperson said, adding that pornography is something that is against Brazil’s values.

The Bush administration has said that it would not hand over the Internet’s reins to any organization, leading to fears that a decision made independent of the U.S could create a scenario in which two or more entities — namely, ICANN and anyone else — compete to regulate domain names.