It is going to be a particularly crazy year in terms of Internet policy and governance, maybe even more than so than 2005, when the World Summit on the Information Society happened.
NPR used the launch of the new gTLD program last week to cover the other big issue – actual governance of the Internet. The slow build up of pressure to again try to bring the Internet under United Nations control is going to let out another big blast of steam this December in Dubai at the WCIT meeting when governments – and only governments – try to rewrite the ITU’s International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) to incorporate the Internet. It will be a big fight and I’ll be heading over there to shine as big a spotlight on the weird world of inter-governmental politics as possible.
Anyway, I was interviewed as was Super Rod of ICANN and David Gross – who was the US’ main man in charge during the WSIS negotiations. You can read the piece online, but it was designed for radio, so listening is much better in this case.
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In the 1990s, on Channel 4 in the UK, the Pakistani team game Kabbadi was shown Sunday mornings for several hours. The only explanation can be that the broadcasting rights were cheap.
Kabbadi is a silly but oddly fascinating game. A bunch of middle-aged, overweight men stand at opposite ends of what looks like a small beach-volleyball court (without the net). One man steps forward from one team (the attacker); one man from the other team meets him. The first man has to get past the second to the other end of the court; if he does, he gets a point. If he fails; the teams switch, defense to attack and vice-versa.
The twist is that the attacking man has to constantly mutter the word “kabbadi”. The usefulness of this is that it naturally limits the time the attacker can spend trying to find his way past his opponent – because he runs out of breath.
At the ITU Plenipot, they have their own version of Kabbadi called “Chairman”. So long as government delegates say the word “Chairman” or “Mr Chairman” every ten seconds they can keep talking, and talking and talking.
The game is played by the same middle-aged, over-weight men, although they are dressed in suits rather than stripped to the waist. There are always two sides (although the team members vary). And they take it in turns to square up to one another and find a way to sneak past them. Just like Kabbadi it is very silly but oddly fascinating.
A tag cloud made from the Plenary transcript on Tuesday
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