Ariel Rabkin (of my alma mater, Berkeley) wrote an interesting, thoughtful article on Internet governance recently. It argues that U.S. government control of the root zone, through the Department of Commerce’s oversight of IANA, perhaps isn’t such a bad thing. The U.S., after all, has done a good job so far, eliciting few complaints. The First Amendment helps us resist calls to use such control as a bludgeon in the service of censorship. An international organization might yield to covert pressure to enact restrictions on content.
While Mr. Rabkin’s arguments appeal to me, I wonder how much my view is clouded by being an American. Furthermore, I tend to think that some of his points would have rung hollow just months ago, before the current administration took office.
On the other hand, I’ve thought about alternatives to the current governance model before and never come up with one I felt sure would work better. Is the current arrangement “the worst form except for all those others that have been tried”?