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Comment: Internet - New shot in the arm for US hegemony

Updated: 2010-01-22 16:10
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The Internet originated on American soil. In 1969, the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the US Defense Department established the world's first testing packet-switched network (PSN) to connect four universities on US soil. The world saw a remarkable expansion of the scale and number of Internet users from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. In September 1989, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was founded with a grant from the US Department of Commence to administer the Internet terminal server. Over the past 40 years, the US has been dominating the world Internet as the core technique holder with an inherent advantage of being the cradle of the Internet.

There are 13 terminal servers in the world to keep the Internet running, with a master server and nine of the 12 secondary servers stationed in the US. In terms of technique, the network of a country will disappear from the world Internet if its domain name registry is blocked or deleted from the terminal server. This kind of conduct is not legally binding with the law of any country except ICANN. In April 2004, Libya was unseen on the Internet for three days after the collapse of the domain name registry of the country "LY" caused by a domain administration dispute.

Concerns about the US monopoly of the domain name server (DNS) system grew among other nations as much as their reliance on the Internet for issues ranging from politics and the economy to defense and the general society. Years ago, there was a proposal that the Internet be administered by the United Nations or under international cooperation. The European Union insisted that the World Wide Web is an international resource that should be jointly managed by all nations. Some developing countries pointed out that at the early stage of Internet development, developed countries seized large amounts of domain names, leaving a limited few for them, and demanded a share with the US over Internet administration. American officials opposed the suggestion.

The US Defense Strategy Review in March 2005 stated that Internet space should have the same priority as continental, marine, aerial and outer space jurisdictions for the US to maintain a decisive superiority. A statement from Washington on June 30, 2005, made it clear that the US government would maintain its control over the DNS indefinitely; stating that a transfer of its management to UN or international cooperative models would impede the free flow of information, lead to easy manipulation of the Internet and make global supervision more difficult.

In an attempt to thwart the World Summit on the Information Society held in Tunis in November 2005, then US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wrote to then European Union president and British foreign minister that her government in Washington backed Internet administration and coordination by ICANN (an alleged NGO which is actually a quasi-government organization with the US Department of Commerce). Rice said management by private corporations would guarantee the safety and stability of the Internet, while the alternative choice of an inter-government mechanism would be an obstacle to Internet development. At the same time, the US Congress passed a bill by a vote of 423 to zero urging a manifesto by the White House that American control over Internet is inviolable. US Rep. John Taylor Doolittle, a Republican from California, said the United States invented the Internet and described it as a gift to the world based on American taxpayers' money. He said he opposed any move to transfer the country's control to the UN.

The control of the Internet plays a strategic role for US. Using the internet, the US can intercept information via the net, export US values and opinions, support a "Color Revolution", feed the opposition powers and rebels against anti-US governments, interfere with other countries' internal affairs and make proactive attacks on enemy's communication and directing networks. James-Adams, a famous military forecaster, wrote in his book, The Next World War, these words: "The computer is the weapon for the future war and there is no virtual front line, as the traditional battle and the byte will take the bullet's role to grab control of the air."

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