By Tom Galvin
The White House today announced it has reached an accord with China to sell the Internet and its critical infrastructure to China for $350 billion. By 2010, the Internet’s root servers and .com and .net will be transferred to China, said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.
Under the agreement, responsibility for oversight of ICANN, the technical coordinating body set up by the Commerce Department in 1998, will be transferred to the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information. ICANN, which is based in Marina Del Ray, California, will relocate to Beijing in 2010 as well.
“This was a complicated negotiation but we feel comfortable that it will result in a win-win,” said Gibbs. “The United States gets an immediate windfall that will help us address our near-term budget shortfall, and going forward we are confident China will act as a responsible steward of the Internet.”
A Chinese MII official declined to comment on the negotiations, but referred reporters to a MII website that detailed the “harmonious changes that will be made to world Internet.” Among the changes proposed were the elimination of pornographic sites such as “PornoTube” and "TMZ", the website for "The Economist" and any reference to Rick Astley or "rickrolling."
Immediate reaction from the technology industry was cautious, but few were willing to comment on the record for fear of antagonizing the Chinese. “I, for one, welcome them,” said one technology CEO.
EU official Lenora Postameure said that while there was widespread resentment of U.S. control over the Internet, EU countries would be comfortable with China. “China has a better understanding of the role of business with Information and Communications Technologies, and will ensure that all multi-lateral stakeholders in government rightfully drive its future together,” said Postameure.
A Chinese official did hint at a deal with CNN personality Lou Dobbs to be a spokesperson for the new Internet order. This would seem to run contrary to his strong American protectionist stance taken nightly on his television show. However, a Dobbs' confidant who preferred not to be quoted said, "Who would you rather be a fake populist for? Three hundred million people? Or, 1.3 billion people who run the freakin' Internet?"
Former Sen. Ted Stevens has been appointed to serve as the liaison between the U.S. and Chinese government to facilitate the transfer of the Internet infrastructure. For more information on this story, go to remembertodayisapril1st.org.
With additional reporting by Sean Garrett