Thursday, November 24, 2005
Apparently, the U.S. has succeeded in diverting the discussion to some sort of U.N. body with little power and an unfocused mandate. So it is impossible to believe anything will actually occur for at least a few more decades as a result of this move.
In truth, both sides are right to claim a win. The agreement calls for the creation of an 'Internet Governance Forum' to be established by the United Nations before mid-2006. It will not have any binding powers but will be a way to continue the dialogue that the UN summit began. Stakeholders other than governments -- such as industry and so-called 'civil society' groups that advocate special causes like free speech -- will be a part of the process too. The forum will not be limited to discussing the names-and-addresses issue but will examine more mainstream matters involving cyberspace, such as spam and network security, that do not fit comfortably in existing intergovernmental organizations.
Well, that's not entirely true. I wouldn't be shocked if this new "Special U.N. Commission on This or That" managed to put out a few resolutions condemning Israel and commemorating Yassir Arafat's heretofore little-known contributions to the growth of the internet amongst oppressed peoples.
That and more than a few cocktail parties.