U.N. can’t decide how to run Net

BRUSSELS, Belgium — A U.N. panel created to recommend how the Internet should be run in the future has failed to reach consensus but did agree that no single country should dominate.

The United States stated two weeks ago that it intended to maintain control over the computers that serve as the Internet’s principal traffic cops.

In a report released Thursday, the U.N. panel outlined four possible options for the future of Internet governance for world leaders to consider at a November “Information Society” summit.

One option would largely keep the current system intact, with a U.S.-based non-profit organization, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, continuing to handle basic policies over Internet addresses.

At the other end, ICANN would be revamped and new international agencies formed under the auspices of the United Nations.

“In the end it will be up to governments, if at all, to decide if there will be any change,” said Markus Kummer, executive director of the U.N. Working Group on Internet Governance, which issued the report.

The 40 members of the panel hailed from around the world and included representatives from business, academia and government.

World leaders who convened in December 2003 for the U.N. World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva couldn’t agree on a structure for Internet governance.


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