That is the underlying question at the fall ICANN meetings that 463 is attending in Vancouver. The Internet policy world has always been a geeky wild, wild west, but there are signs that the Internet infrastructure community – operators, users, businesses – are trying to get their house in order. And none too soon given the fact that the UN, ITU and some freedom-unfriendly countries (read Syria, Iran, Cuba) would like governments to control the Internet.
A big test for the Internet community is whether it can resolve long-standing differences. ICANN announced two months ago a lawsuit settlement with VeriSign, but it has yet to take final action to end the litigation. There are many special interests who justify their opposition using a myriad of arguments but most center on their fear they will lose the ability to dictate ICANN actions by controlling their budget and policy process.
Of course, it’s often easier just to kick...
the can than deal with hard issues. Look at .xxx, which is labeled the red-light district of the Internet because it would be reserved for domain names for the porn industry. But the political backlash against .xxx, particularly in the United States, has left little stomach to act on it. So it’s delayed.
After ten years of chaos, there are signs that the stewards of the Internet, a mass of interests, opinions and agendas, may finally be finding away to build a system that moves the Internet forward. The next few months will test whether they can get the job done.