Who is fighting for network neutrality

While American opponents of WSIS are wrapping themselves in the flag, could it be the "evil foreigners" who are really on our side?

itu FLAGWhile American opponents of WSIS are wrapping themselves in the flag, could it be the "evil foreigners" who are really on our side?

Our side, in this case, is network neutrality.

What network neutrality means, briefly, is that the Internet is a pipe. ISPs offer all its available bits, and you select which bits to receive. You are in full control of your Internet experience, not the ISP. That's a basic freedom, it seems to me. That should be a given.

But in the wake of SBC (soon to be AT&T) CEO Edward Whitacre's outrageous statement suggesting Google and other information providers should be forced to pay rent before being allowed to use "his" pipes to reach "his" customers, the people moaning the loudest over a "UN Takeover of the Internet" are discussing a bill to let him do just that.

So, who's the enemy?

It seems to me that it's the European Union, not China or Iran or Al Qaeda, that is really behind this effort. Let's see what they're proposing:

The new cooperation model should include the development and application of globally applicable public policy principles and provide an international government involvement at the level of principles over the following naming, numbering and addressing- related matters.

Cut through the diplomatic mumbo-jumbo and it seems they want the operations of ICANN and the other root operators to be predictable, transparent and rule-driven. Is there something wrong with that?

It is the U.S. that started this game of politicizing the Internet, says the EU. It was Bush Administration pressure that forced ICANN to kill .xxx (not that there's anything wrong with that). And how was Verisign re-authorized as .Net (and later, following a private negotiation)  .Com registrar (despite the SiteFinder and Crazy Frog scandals). Was that transparent?

Who is threatening what, and who is defending you? Might I suggest we put down our flags for a moment and consider the question?

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