Learning English - Words in the News
30 September, 2005 - Published 12:49 GMT
Internet address argument
The US has again rejected handing over control of internet domain names such as dot com and dot org to a UN backed international body. Critics see this as keeping the governance of the internet in private US hands. This report from Julian Siddle:
ICANN is a private company set up in the early days of the internet to assign domain names, such as dot com now used worldwide in internet addresses. At the time the internet was not global so it didn't seem to matter that this obscure US organisation had control over all addresses. But with global expansion this began to look increasingly unfair, as now demonstrated by one of the internet's largest user groups; internet pornographers have been demanding their own triple x address to make it easier for people to find internet porn. This move was blocked in the US courts after lobbying by right wing religious groups.
The UN believes that it should control allocation of the internet addresses and is organising a conference in Tunisia in November to discuss the issue. Many internet activists though see the spat over domain names as largely irrelevant, saying there are more pressing issues for the internet, such as to what extent it really is a development tool, as outlined in the UN millennium goals. Many also question why this UN conference is happening in a country like Tunisia where internet access is tightly controlled and where opponents of the government who've tried to use websites to get their views across have been imprisoned.
Julian Siddle, BBC Science
This move was blocked
more pressing issues