Briefing from ROAPE Volume 32 Number 104/5
Uncle Sam is Watching YOU
Whenever you surf the web, send emails or download music, an unseen force is at work in the background, making sure you connect to the sites, inboxes and databases you want. The name of this brooding presence? The US government. Some 35 years after the US military invented the internet, the US Department of Commerce retains overall control of the master computers that direct traffic to and from every web and email address on the planet. But a group convened by the UN on 18 July 2005 to thrash out the future of the net is calling for an end to US domination of the net, proposing that instead a multinational forum of governments, companies and civilian organisations is created to run it. The UN's Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) says US control hinders many developments that might improve it. These range from efforts to give the developing world more affordable net access to coming up with globally agreed and enforceable measures to boost net privacy and fight cybercrime.