October 18, 2005

You Got It, We Want It

Andrew Stuttaford in The Corner links to former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt's article backing continued U.S. control of the Internet, an issue we've touched on here before. Bildt pleads with the EU not to throw in with the decidedly unfree regimes of Saudi Arabia, China, Cuba and Iran by backing a measure to "internationalize" Internet control.

The Internet is as strange as it is important. Its evolution from its origins in American research labs has been carried forward by a global community of dedicated individuals. Gradually, its governance has evolved as a network of institutions that brings experts, stakeholders and public interests together in a system that is controlled by no one but open to everyone. It's an innovative, although not necessarily perfect, new approach to global governance of vital assets.

And it has worked. The Internet is fast becoming as important to our globalized economies and societies as water is to life. The fact that innovation, transparency and reliability have gone hand in hand in this revolution over the past decade shows at the very least that the governance structure of the Internet isn't deeply flawed.

It would be profoundly dangerous to now set up an international mechanism, controlled by governments, to take over the running of the Internet. Not only would this play into the hands of regimes bent on limiting the freedom that the Internet can bring, it also risks stifling innovation and ultimately endangering the security of the system.

Posted by dan at October 18, 2005 4:37 PM