The fracturing of the Internet

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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The fracturing of the Internet

Sadly, the fracturing of the Internet has begun.

First, we have Level 3 and Cogent Communications, two major Internet backbone providers bickering - they've cut off peering Internet traffic to each other. From ZDNet:


Two major Internet backbone companies are feuding, potentially cutting off significant swaths of the Internet for some of each other's customers.

On Wednesday, network company Level 3 Communications cut off its direct "peering" connections to another big network company called Cogent Communications. That technical action means that some customers on each company's network now will find it impossible, or slower, to get to Web sites on the other company's network. more...

Then you have instances of ISPs blocking VoIP traffic. And now you have Greg Galitzine providing this analysis of yet another attack on the "openness" of the Internet. Greg sarcastically writes, "a group of countries including the likes of Iran, Cuba and China — bastions of freedom all — have seen fit to complain about who controls the Internet." Greg opines, "Apparently at issue is the stated position taken by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC) that they would retain indefinite control of the Internet's foundation — its "root servers" — which act as the basic directory for the whole ‘Net."

Greg provides some great insights into this issue and includes links to other websites discussing this very important issue on who controls the Internet. While it seems fashionably vogue to be anti-American these days, here's one issue where we shouldn't let control of the Internet be dictated by dictatorships. And since when has their been a problem with the U.S. controlling the root servers? Has the U.S. wielded this power to censor certain websites? No, they haven't. So what's the problem?

Like Greg comments in his article, do we really need to have a committee of countries controlling the Internet root servers, each with their own agenda? Please... we don't need a re-creation of the United Nations for the Internet. This isn't me waving my patriotic red, white, and blue banner saying it's the U.S.'s God-given right to control the root servers simply because the U.S. invented the Internet (though that is a valid argument), rather I'd like to see a single entity be in charge of the root servers - and only if this entity is a democratic, freedom-loving entity. Maybe the U.S. can rotate control of the root servers to other democratic countries such as the U.K., Australia, Canada, etc. but please, don't make control of the Internet "by committee" comprised of anti-democracy, anti-freedom countries. The Internet is one of the planet's greatest outlets for freedom of speech and democracy. Let's keep it that way.



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