A controversial plan to grant governments broad controls over the Internet has stolen the spotlight of a United Nations conference on IT next week, where China and Cuba will be among its strongest supporters. Leaders from nearly 200 countries will convene in Geneva for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) on December 10-12, an inaugural conference with lofty goals to discuss bridging the digital divide and fostering press freedoms. But a contentious political move to grant an international governing body such as the U.N.’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) control over Internet governance issues — from distributing Web site domains to the public to fighting spam — has all but obscured the more virtuous aspects of the event. Incubated in a geeky part of the U.S. Department of Defense decades ago, the Internet has become a thriving global marketplace since being fully turned over to the private business community in the early 1990s. Full Story
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