In the golden haze surrounding the mystic city of Tunisia, a small group of elite merchants of the information age will once again try to figure out the future of the Internet. In November, they will fight out their agendas and try hard to make sense out of the ongoing cyber warfare.
If there were a major split or a major breakdown of the Internet then whom would be the real beneficiaries? Right now, no one.
The Mystical Approach
The politico-technocrats and the neo-cybernauts have taken a weird posture on this issue. The entire argument is over who will control the “naming system,” the basic early architecture that allows the creation of URLs and domain name management.
Invented and perfected by America, the current elementary architecture is under global pressure, as many countries want their own naming system and controls. With over 200 countries in the game, it is very hard for the United States to call all the shots.
Furthermore, the initial naming convention based on the early issuance of dot-com and dot-net were all based on tooty-fruity casual naming, and never incorporated any deeper understanding of the global naming laws. The initial idea was based on making a quick buck, as it was expected that the entire universe would register and be happy with the first five available suffixes — com, net, gov, edu and mil. And a large number did, at the peak at millions names per day.
It made for good revenue for the early, hand-picked registrars. But now the global players want to do their own thing.
The Illiterate Masses
The Internet of today is no longer a place for the computer literate; it now exists for the global illiterates. Totally unexposed to any layers of innovations, the almost illiterate masses around the world are direct beneficiaries of the system. Just like using a TV with an on and off switch, the masses are doing the same with the Internet.
The impact of e-commerce offering accessibility to information, goods and services has become so powerful that it has shaken the economic and socio-cultural foundations of the developed countries. With the genie out of the bottle, the world is questioning whether a single country should be in charge.
The United States is openly isolated and being pushed to relinquish control, or the more aggressive nations will simply develop their own Internet … which would be a global disaster, a major earthquake for e-commerce, causing the most disruptive global shockwave to our daily lives that mankind has ever seen.
The Aroma Therapy
For some strange reason, the mystical ICANN, with its mathematical theorizations, has periodically sprayed some aromatic ideas on how to expand its architecture to the global players. It did work for the first five years during the earlier dark ages of the Internet time lines. Now the atmosphere is scented with an entirely different mood. The romantic backdrop is over and the honeymoon is turning into divorce battles.
Despite all the back room and hush-hush maneuvers, this small group of global techno-bandits, rightly or wrongly, have far too much control over what we cherish and what we use the most — our information.
The Yoga Master
Until there are very open and public discussions on this subject, the global audience will remain almost oblivious to the delicate tightrope walk that occurs whenever the ICANN circus comes to town. Unless there are some mind-bending and body-stretching exercises done to deliver more oxygen to the brain, the deal brokers are slowly but surely approaching disasters. For now, there can be no direct beneficiaries to this dangerous game.
How ridiculous is this issue? Imagine if a few printers around the globe got together and jointly decided to replace all our current currencies and their value and choose new colors and designs and value all own their own.
Economy? What economy?
Hey, this not just some printing issue! And therefore it is not just a name or a numbering issue. It is all about global naming standards and a sophisticated application of global naming architectural laws.
In the end? Stupid.
Naseem Javed, author of Naming for Power and alsoDomain Wars, is recognized as a world authority on global nameidentities and domain issues. Javed founded ABC Namebank, aconsultancy he established a quarter century ago, and conducts executiveworkshops on image and name identity issues. Contact him at [email protected].