Who controls the internet?

Posted in: Governance at 11/10/2010 16:03

In an article looking at cybersecurity, The Financial Times notes that in 2009 "US Defense Secretary Robert Gates declared cyberspace to be the 'fifth domain' of military operations, alongside land, sea, air and space."

In 2010, General Keith Alexander "is the first boss of USCybercom, the United States Cyber Command, in charge of the Pentagon's sprawling cyber networks and tasked with battling unknown enemies in a virtual world."

In his confirmation hearing, the FT says, General Alexander sounded the alarm, declaring that the Pentagon's computer systems "are probed 250,000 times an hour, up to six million per day", and that among those attempting to break in were "more than 140 foreign spy organisations trying to infiltrate US networks". Congress was left with a dark prophecy ringing in its ears: "It's only a small step from disrupting to destroying parts of the network."

This 3,500 word article also claims that "there are areas where American control over the administration of the web is slipping. Under pressure from foreign governments, notably China, Icann, the US-based independent body that stipulates how the addresses of websites can be formulated, announced that from now on it will allow the use of most major language scripts - Cyrillic, Chinese and Arabic, among them."

"US defence hawks regard this as a disaster. Writing in the Harvard Security Journal, Dan Geer, whose company has advised the CIA on computer security, called it 'the single most criminogenic act ever taken in or around the digital world'. He argues that it will be even easier for cyber warriors to launch an attack while disguising their location."

To read this article in The Financial Times in full, see:

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