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June 14, 2002

Ruling the Root of the Net

Andrew Leonard in Salon has a review of Milton Mueller's Ruling the Root, a book that helps demolish the techno-libertarian conceit of the "anarchy of the Net." The book emphasizes that the Internet always had governance mechanisms in the "root" nameservers that direct traffic. And the story Mueller tells is one of open standards backed by the government being taken over by corporate special interests using those governance mechanisms to enforce trademarks and other corporate interests.
...The Commerce Department handed control of domain names to ICANN, a private nonprofit, a number of years ago, which was all part of the pro-corporate privatization of the Internet that undermined the original freedom of the Net which, yes, the government had backed when it had full control.
...Some Senators are now calling for revoking ICANN's contract with the Commerce Department and subjecting it to the same review and procedural requirements as any government agency. It's about time.

Posted by Nathan at June 14, 2002 08:31 AM


Agreed with your points, but one nitpick: it's ICANN, not ICAAN. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

Posted by: Larry Kestenbaum at June 14, 2002 02:47 PM

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