The United States – in particular, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, ICANN – has maintained control of the domain name system and authoritative root zone servers of the Internet since its inception in the late 1960s. Recently, the United Nations, European Union and countries including China, Brazil and Iran, have been growing weary of the U.S. monopoly on this system and are trying to wrest power away from its creator in an attempt for global regulation and decentralization.

ICANN is currently solely responsible for the oversight of top-level domain names – .com, .net, etc. – and the assignment of domain names to specific Internet Protocol addresses through a process of domain name resolution that begins at its root servers. What this means for the average computer person is that one need only type “http://www.google.com” into a browser, rather than “http://216.239.37.99”. Practical applications aside, ICANN adheres to a hands-off policy in regards to content and has successfully nurtured the Internet from its infancy as the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, ARPANET, to its current status as a necessity for governments and businesses alike.

There are many problems associated with transferring key Internet functions to the U.N. or a similar global organization. The bureaucracy of such a group would be an unnecessary hindrance. Rules, restrictions and taxes are bound to creep into the mostly free task of surfing the Web. Politics should not be introduced into a private sector enterprise and market-based leadership. The U.N., in particular, chiefly functions as a humanitarian and peacekeeping organization. Its priorities should be elsewhere, especially in light of recent failures in these important areas – notably the Oil for Food scandal and unsuccessful nation-building in Somalia.

Globalizing the functions that ICANN performs would inevitably bring in a vast array of countries, all of whom think they should have a say in the decision-making process. Some governments restrict “inappropriate” content viewable by its citizens. Such content usually consists of anti-government views and opinions. What’s to stop them from pursuing similar endeavors on a global scale? The very ideals pioneered by the Internet – freedom of expression and content – would be put in jeopardy if a global committee wrenches responsibility from ICANN.

Ultimately, the Internet was invented by many talented researchers in the United States and was generously opened to the global community. Global commerce, communication and entertainment heavily depend on its reliability. Outside organizations need not interfere in what the U.S. and ICANN have successfully done and continue to do by maintaining the key functions that keep the Internet running.

Tice can be reached at ctice@campustimes.org.



An open letter to all members of any university community

I strongly oppose the proposed divestment resolution. This resolution is nothing more than another ugly manifestation of antisemitism at the University.

UR Baseball beats Hamilton and RIT

Yellowjackets baseball beat Hamilton College on Tuesday and RIT on Friday to the scores of 11–4 and 7–4, respectively.

Colin’s Review Rundown: Future and Metro Boomin, Lizzy McAlpine, Benson Boone, Civerous

Is it bad? Definitely not! But I found myself continually checking my phone to see how many tracks were left.