Why the world is arguing over who runs the internet

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WHO runs the internet? For the past 30 years, pretty much no one. Some governments might call this a bug, but to the engineers who designed the protocols, standards, naming and numbering systems of the internet, it's a feature.

The goal was to build a network that could withstand damage and would enable the sharing of information. In that, they clearly succeeded - hence the oft-repeated line from John Gilmore, founder of digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation: "The internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." These pioneers also created a robust platform on which a guy in a dorm room could build a business that serves a billion people.

But perhaps not for much longer. This week, 2000 people have gathered for the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates to discuss, in part, whether they should be in charge.