France Joins With Authoritarian Regimes Over Control Of The Internet


President Obama thinks it’s a good idea for the United States to give up control of the internet to the world. Now the French have joined the authoritarian regimes of the world in order to protect their precious wine industry.

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Last week France joined authoritarian regimes in seeking to replace the self-regulating Internet with a new system of one-country, one-vote control. More than 3,000 Internet specialists had gathered in London for the largest-ever meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or Icann. China’s minister of cyberspace affairs expounded on how different countries have “different modes and methods in Internet management” and welcomed America’s giving up control, which “ushers in a new era of joint global Internet governance.”

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But France made the most headlines when it opposed an Icann plan to add .wine and .vin as new top-level Internet domains. France objected that the new suffixes would give makers of sparkling wine a way of passing plonk off as champagne.

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Such disputes are common. Amazon lost a bid for a .Amazon domain because countries in the Amazon rain forest objected that there could be confusion. But when the French didn’t get their way, they joined the authoritarian regimes in demanding an end to Internet self-regulation.

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“Icann’s procedures highlight its inability to take into account the legitimate concerns of states,” read the French delegation’s statement. It demanded Internet governance move to majority voting by governments. This means France could protect champagne—and other countries could censor websites around the world they don’t like. So much for the multistakeholder system overseen by the U.S. that has left engineers and network operators free to build an open Internet without political pressure. (Read More)

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They went on to state that ICANN is not the appropriate forum for discussing internet governance. ICANN is the body Obama wants to turn over control over the internet to, so that’s a bit of a problem, eh?

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