WSIS - Annan: UN has no plans to 'take over' the Internet

The United Nations is no threat to the Internet, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan wrote in a newspaper column published Saturday.

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, seeking to defuse a feud over Internet governance ahead of a global summit next week, wrote in a newspaper column published Saturday that no proposals exist to create a U.N. agency to take over the Net.

The column, published in the Washington Post, comes amid growing concerns that next week's World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) could be derailed by the politically charged topic of Internet governance. Numerous governments, including the European Union, have called for an international governing body and a reduced role for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Responding to claims that the U.N. wants to become that body and "take over, police or otherwise control the Internet," Annan wrote that "nothing could be farther from the truth."

Last week, several U.S. business and government officials voiced their opposition to a new international body that would reduce, if not totally eliminate, the need for ICANN.

One of them was Michael Gallagher, assistant secretary for communications and information at the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), who said the U.S. government will "not agree" to a new international governing body. ICANN was created in 1998 by the Commerce Department.

In his article, Annan said that while it would be "naive to expect governments not to take an interest" in Internet policy, "governments alone cannot set the rules." They must learn, he added, how to work with nonstate shareholders that have played critical roles in building and coordinating the Internet, and remain a driving force for its further expansion and innovation.

Because discussions on Internet governance reached a stalemate at the first WSIS in Geneva two years ago, a working group was established to examine the issue further, according to Annan. The group has suggested creating a new forum that would bring all stakeholders together to discuss difficult issues, but have no decision-making power, he said. The group has also offered several options for Internet oversight arrangements, with varying degrees of government involvement and relationship to the U.N.

But none of these options, Annan wrote, "says the United Nations should take over from the technical bodies now running the Internet; none proposes to create a new U.N. agency; and some suggest no U.N. role at all."

All of the proposals say the day-to-day management of the Internet should be left to technical institutions, to shield it from the "heat of day-to-day politics," Annan said.

The Secretary General warned that the Tunis phase of WSIS could end up giving too much focus to Internet governance and not enough to the summit's original goal of ensuring that poor countries experience the full benefits of new information and communication technologies.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Blau

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?