" ITREALMS: Experts back US to retain Internet root servers

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Experts back US to retain Internet root servers

MEMBERS of the Internet Service Providers (ISP) community in the country have endorsed the United States’ recent declaration of intention to retain the root servers of the Internet, based on security reasons.

The root name servers have the responsibilities for the domain’s where about and which servers are responsible for the TLDs that could be requested on the invent of Internet user’s querry of any sort.

Presently, there are 13 of such servers located at various centers globally, most of which are in the United States.

Some of the ISPs who spoke to Business Champion at the weekend, said the US action or intention is not far fetched, because the nation has invested so much money and expertise to the development of Internet.

Other reasons adduced by these ISPs was that since the root servers, for instance, have been in the US without any technical hitch, that it would be better if the country is allowed to retain it for the main time, with the hope that the processes of governing the Internet would also mature as time tickles.

Business Champion recalls that penultimate week, the United States’ Assistant Secretary at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), in the Department of Commerce,

Mr. Michael Gallagher, announced what analysts tagged the “new US principles on the internet”.

Although the announcement came as a shock to most stakeholders, but information gathered at the weekend by our correspondent, indicated otherwise, especially from the ISPs in the country.

They noted that though in the past, the US has said it would allow the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) responsible for maintaining the root file.

They also noted that the US position may not likely go down well with the United Nations, through which many poorer states have been requesting more input into how the internet is managed.

Leading respondents to the implications or otherwise of the declaration by the US, was the Executive Director of Nigeria Online Limited, Mr. Olaleye Alao, who is the Treasurer of the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG).

He pointed out that the internet itself started in the US, hence it could amount to security reasons especially following the September 11 incident in which many people died.

“The main reason for the US control is because of its concern for security and stability of the internet,” he said, stressing that the kind of control or governance depend largely on technical, political and internet aspects.

He pointed out that internet has evolved from a research and academic facility into a global facility available to the public for over 10 years now.

“This is why many different points of view have emerged about the scope and mechanism of internet governance. It is more than internet names and address and includes internet resources, security, development and the use of the internet,” he explained.

Managing Director of PiNet Limited, Mr. Lanre Ajayi, stated that as far as US started the process of deploying Internet, it would be difficult to release the root servers to other bodies considering the amount of financial commitment that have gone into the project.

He would prefer US to continue being in position of the root servers until the appropriate time, mostly based on the security.

For the chief executive of Equinox Technologies, Mr. Mba Nwakanma, he never thinks that US would relinquish the root servers, since the government knows the implication.

United Nations had at the end of the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva, Switzerland, set up a Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) to look into ways of deregulating the current strong hold of the United States on Internet, so as to make its processes more democratic.

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