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US Policy Container: Depoliticizing the Global Internet

One of fastest growing trends of electronic communications is digital identity.

The simplest way of establishing digital identity is to get a domain name and create a web site and email accounts.

While this might have been a fairly complex undertaking some ten years ago, today it is a trivial matter. So trivial in fact that spammers and phishers can ply their trade with very low costs of entry. These low cost of entry have made the Internet a commodity business as traffic is handled in the aggregate and competitive pricing has made being an ISP a difficult business model. It also has created aggressive growth and adoption curves.

The Internet is also the lowest common denominator. Given adequate resources nations, individuals, and companies will establish more secure and private networks. But the nature of the Internet, or internetwork, is that it is global not national. It thus has some special characteristics that make it different from other networks.

It is very difficult to achieve consensus, except within limited communities of interest. Thus the technical community like the IETF can work on protocols, and the diplomatic community can work on rules regarding treaties and items for international cooperation in trade and law enforcement issues like money laundering. The technical community is also very interested in social issues, but has a different and less formal communications model.

The internet technical and engineering community model of “rough consensus and running code” has brought us to this point. The slower and more formal technical models of the ITU have also brought us to this point. They are both valid.

There are concerns that this leap forward in technology might be crushed under the weight of bureaucratic overhead which the more formal model of international cooperation has evolved.

Seeing that there are still borders, and distinctions between one nation and another, then it makes sense to agree to a global policy set which all parties agree to, based on universal human rights, and more specific national or supra-national policy sets.

For the U.S. that means depoliticizing the global internet, and establishing a national container for network policy.

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