In December of this year the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) will be held. 193 nations will be coming together in Dubai to review the International Telecommunications Regulations as part of an ongoing United Nations treaty. Among other telecommunications issues these regulations are used for the Internet.
For the first time, the agenda may include such polarizing subjects as who will control the Internet; at the heart of the issues, too, is a lingering question about who will oversee the Domain Name Systems (DNS) residing on our root servers.
A good history of the internet and issues that may come up in the conference are covered in May’s Vanity Fair, “World War 3.0,” “DNS is the corner post office,” notes author Stephen Doyle. The responsibility for oversight may very well be within the private sector.
Also, a call-to-arms may go out as well to the 20 Internet providers handling 90% of the Internet traffic worldwide, who could become a first-line-of-defense for botnet detection.
“…the top 20 Internet services providers in the world carry 90 percent of the Internet traffic. They can see when you’re infected by a botnet. They can see when you’ve been hacked,” says Melissa Hathaway, a cyber-security strategist beginning with President George W. Bush and now Barack Obama.
Regarding botnet detection, the standard-bearers have a “duty to warn if in imminent danger,” she notes. Furthermore, “It’s just like the law of the sea: the duty to assist.”
A central part of the meeting in Dubai will be to discuss the Internet’s sovereignty in a no-boundary system; piracy and privacy.” Notes Doyle: “security free access to an open Internet makes users vulnerable to various kinds of hacking, including corporate and government espionage, personal surveillance, the hijacking of Web traffic, and remote manipulation of computer-controlled military and industrial processes.”
The Internet has become a much more powerful resource since the regulations were created. This conference could be a very important changing point for the Internet we know today.
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