- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 31, 2005

In a separate Geneva interview on the same subject, Mr. Zarocostas also spoke with Allen Z. Miller, senior vice president for global affairs with the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), an umbrella group for more than 400 information-technology corporations.

Question: What are the views of the ITAA on the four models for Internet oversight to be considered this autumn in Tunisia at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)?

Answer: Well, I think the options represent an entire range of possibilities that could be taken. Actually, the ITAA doesn’t agree with any of those options. First of all, we don’t need intergovernmental control of the Internet, and second, we don’t need a new forum to discuss the issues. There are plenty of fora that are already available, and we should use them.

Q: What about all this U.N. process and the summit conference in Tunisia in November?

A: Well, I think the U.N. process is a useful exercise. Clearly, we are sympathetic to the needs of the developing countries and the need to be able to push the Internet into areas where it is not today. And by spotlighting these needs, WSIS has provided a useful place to spotlight it and to discuss possible solutions to the problems.

Q: The report says no single government should have a pre-eminent role in relation to international Internet governance. What’s your response?

A: Well, I think that’s an ideal that we should all be striving for and are striving for. On the other hand, it’s the history of the situation that has enabled the U.S. government to have that role today. Certainly, business is concerned with the stability of the Internet — most businesses, particularly in developed countries, have developed business models that are in many ways dependent upon the Internet.

Our concern is that nothing be done that would disrupt the Internet. So continued U.S. control, with at some point a phased transition to some other model, makes sense to us.

Q: Some countries like Brazil and South Africa want the present model to come under the United Nations or some sort of global governance mechanism. Is this premature?

A: Yes, we would think that it is. The Internet has not been around that long.

Yes, it has grown very rapidly in the last few years, but again, from our perspective, it is functioning well, so any changes or improvements that need to be made — we feel — need to be on an incremental basis and not to just turn everything upside down by moving it under governmental control.

Q: What areas can governments cooperate on regarding the Internet without affecting the functioning of the present architecture?

A: I think there are a couple of areas. Number one, there is a need for national Internet policy in a number of areas. We need national policy in the area of “spam” and in creating a legal environment that will encourage investment on the Internet and on the underlying [telecommunications] infrastructure.

So, first would be the national policies. Second, we all recognize that on “spam” and on cyber-security, there needs to be some international cooperation.

We feel that is taking place in a number of fora, but it needs to continue. So, there are a number of areas where governments can cooperate and we can improve the situation.

Q: The statement by the U.S. government that the status quo will remain as is between the Department of Commerce and Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, what’s your take of that?

A: Well, we support the position taken by the U.S. government on that issue. Second, maybe people are reading too much into that. It said, here’s the situation as it is today. My reading of it is, it made no real reference to what may happen in the future.

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