U.S., U.N. reach agreement on Internet governance

A long-simmering conflict between the U.S. and the United Nations over the future of Internet governance was averted indefinitely today, thanks to a newly-signed agreement that was hammered out just hours before the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) began in Tunis. The new deal endorses the creation of an Internet Governance Forum that will meet in 2006 under the auspices of the United Nations. This new body is tasked with an extremely broad mandate, and it is apparently meant to be a discussion forum for topics ranging from computer security to spam, as well as other misuses of the Internet.

Key to the agreement, however, is that the new international body will have no governing power over the Internet, and the document itself makes no provisions for the eventual end of U.S. control over the 'Net. For the moment, the various nation-states will at least be able to air their concerns in a new forum, and business as usual will continue across cyberspace.

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