Richard Fernandez over at The Belmont Club has some interesting thoughts about the possible disintegration of the Internet. It seems there is international pressure--notably from countries such as China, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, to "share the governance" of the Internet, which is presently administered by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) under contract to the US department of commerce. The United Nations' Working Group on Internet Governance proposes putting control of the Internet in the hands of the United Nations (surprise). The fear, apparently, is that we can't be trusted to control the Internet anymore. Maybe because it's working so poorly now the only thing we can do to save it is hand over control to the United Nations, which manages to control everything so well. But Fernandez makes an excellent point:
It is precisely because the US "has never abused its position in that way" that the Internet has become so universally accepted. It is on the basis of that "full faith and confidence" in the system that vast information flows, often transacted by companies worth many billions of dollars, can occur on a routine basis. By maintaining this medium of exchange, the United States has become the information central banker to the world. The WGIG's essentially argues that the United States might be tempted to debase the Internet in order to control it. However, a moment's reflection will convince most readers that any American attempt to behave as the WGIG's members (like Saudi Arabia and Iran) would probably be tempted to behave would instantly lead to the end of the US monopoly. The New Scientist's claim that the Internet has become too valuable to entrust it to the United States stands the logic on its head. The Internet has become too valuable, even to American companies alone, for anyone to even think of monkeying with it. Anyone that is, except the WGIG.Read the whole thing here.