The end of the Internet as we know it?

The world isn't ending, but the future of the Internet may be up for grabs at next week's meeting of the World Conference on International Telecommunications

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There's a good chance the ITU will decide to levy taxes on international IP traffic -- a big reason why companies like Google, which use enormous amounts of bandwidth, have their knickers in a knot over this. Meanwhile, FCC chair Julius Genachowski has publicly opposed any attempts by the ITU to strap one-size-fits-all cyber security regulations on the Webbernets.

Russia is also pushing to wrest control of Internet domains from ICANN and put it in the hands of the United Nations. I have to admit, I think they're onto something there -- if not the UN, maybe the NFL replacement refs or the Girl Scouts. Heck, the DMV could probably do a better job.

What, if anything, these bureaucrats agree on won't be known for a few weeks at least. So enjoy your free and easy InterWebbing while you still can.

Who really controls the Net? Well, LOLcats, obviously. But so far, they haven't weighed in on any of these proposals. Let's hope they decide to pounce at the last moment and save the day.

Does the future of the Internet give you paws? Post your fears and trepidations below, or email me: cringe@infoworld.com.

This article, "The end of the Internet as we know it?," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

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