The people who operate the Internet are arguing over who should be in charge. Some people don’t think anybody should be in charge. Others believe they not only should be in charge, but should be able to censor certain kinds of Internet traffic. Some, who have invested considerable money in the Internet infrastructure, want to solidify their positions.
Others, who have invested in technological innovations that have more to do with software than with equipment, would like to have plenty to say.
Finally, there are billions of people who use the Internet for everything from tweeting to watching movies. They don’t think they should have to pay any premium for their usage, no matter how much bandwidth their usage takes up.
L. Gordon Crovitz, who writes on Information Age subjects for The Wall Street Journal, opined this week that U.S. plans to turn control of the “dot.com” process to an international consortium should be shelved. Internet users have registered various dot combinations, or domain files, with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or Icann. Examples are .com, .org .net and so forth.
Authoritarian governments already try to block such domain names as .gay, or .bible, saying they are offensive.
Any combination of characters could be construed by the Chinese or the North Koreans to be hostile. Such countries already block names they don’t like.
Crovitz believes if root zone management is turned over to the international consortium, chaos will result. He’s right.
Another concern is Internet privacy. People want Internet privacy, but they use Internet applications in such a way that they give away their privacy.
We know the big operators, such as Facebook and Google already sell information they store about every user they have. It is how Internet sites make their money. The idea of personal privacy is almost idiotic when people post nude photos of themselves for all to see. Right now, there’s hardly any penalty for invading any person’s privacy on the Internet.
We have forgotten that the Internet is supposed to be a useful tool that we control — not something that controls us. As you can see, we forget it at our peril.