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Thursday, March 31, 2005

The U.N. thinks about tomorrow’s cyberspace

Created in 1865 to facilitate telegraph transmissions, its mandate has expanded to include radio and telephone communications.  But the ITU enjoys virtually no influence over the Internet.

That remains the province of specialized organizations such as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN; the Internet Engineering Task Force; the World Wide Web Consortium; and regional address registries.  Though Zhao is far too diplomatic to state it directly, the ITU’s increasing interest in the Internet could presage a power struggle between ITU, ICANN, and perhaps even the U.S. government, which retains some oversight authority over ICANN and appears content with the current structure.

“The whole world is looking for a better solution for Internet governance, unwilling to maintain the current situation,” Houlin Zhao, director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, said last year.  Zhao, a former government official in China’s Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, has been in his current job since 1999.  “Countering spam is just one of many elements of protecting the Internet that include availability during emergencies and supporting public safety and law enforcement officials,” Zhao wrote in December.

Also, he wrote, the ITU “would take care of other work, such as work on Internet exchange points, Internet interconnection charging regimes, and methods to provide authenticated directories that meet national privacy regimes.”

This article documents an interview with Houlin Zhao, director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau.

http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9588_22-5648953.html

Posted on 03/31
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