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Where's Big Brother?

Orwell's nightmare won't be coming to the Internet anytime soon.

By Mark Henricks

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Whose job should it be to see that terrorists don't unleasha computer virus that cripples the air traffic control system? Whowill prevent enemy nations from stealing nuclear weapons secretsfrom U.S. government computers over the Internet? Who should keeprival entrepreneurs from downloading trade secrets from yourcompany's computers or those of another firm? Who shouldregulate the Internet?

Right now, the closest thing to a global Internet regulatorybody is the InternetCorporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a privateorganization based in Marina Del Rey, California. But ICANNisn't much of a regulator. It's concerned with how to setup and run the domain-name system that gives us .com, .org and .netas well as country-connected domain names such as .uk for theUnited Kingdom and newer domains like .biz. "We don'treally regulate," says ICANN's Mary Hewitt."We're a technical coordinating body." Theorganization has just half a dozen employees and an annual budgetof $5 million, scarcely sufficient to coordinate the concerns ofits 243 member governments, from Ascension Island (.ac) to Zimbabwe(.zw). Its interest in security is to protect the small number ofglobal high-level domain-name servers.

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