The Internet War we've warned about here for years has begun, but in a most unexpected way.
While most attention was being placed on the UN and ITU, which were making noises about seizing control of Internet resources, perhaps by building their own DNS root servers, a private U.S. company just went up and did it.
The company is Neustar, and they have created a root DNS server for their .gprs domain, which will serve the mobile phone industry. (Warning -- that link above is to a PDF file.)
NOTE: As reader Jesse Kopelman has correctly noted, this action was taken on behalf of the GSM Association, a trade group of mobile operators based in London. Here's their press release. Essentially, the GSM Association has created its own private Internet. And no one has done anything about it.
Tne Neustar move is a direct challenge to ICANN, which previously approved a domain for mobile phone services called .mobi. But carriers may prefer the Neustar "solution," as it might enable them to control what users have access to on "their" Internet, and to shakedown information providers wishing to be accessed. A private Internet with private gatekeepers. Is this what the government meant when it said it preferred private control to government?
Meanwhile, the U.S. government (a Mack Sennett production) was attacking EU proposals to even consider obsoleting ICANN. "Some countries want that. We think that's unacceptable," said Ambassador David Gross, the US coordinator for international communications and information policy at the State Department.
Apparently Gross didn't get the Neustar release. And apparently Gross has no Clue about how the Internet works.
If mobile phone providers decide to make phone users access Web addresses through the Neustar DNS, and take kickbacks from Neustar from anyone who wants to be listed on that DNS who will stop them? Yeah? And if that server is outside the U.S.? What if it's in Switzerland? You and what army? The one you destroyed in Iraq?
Exactly. This is the Dumbest Administration Ever. And now they're about to throw away the Worldwide Internet, along with everything else they've tossed on the rubbish bin the last five years.
NOTE: If the ITU or any other group wishes to create its own DNS root servers, there is also nothing the U.S. government can do to stop them.