The United Nations has agreed to leave the control over the internet in the hands of the US.
At the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunisia the member countries of the organisation voted to leave day-to-day management of the internet with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann).
Icann is independent in name, but in practice has strong ties with the US government.
A group of countries, including Pakistan and China, had been putting pressure on the US to hand over control of the root domain name servers to the United Nations, but in the end backed down.
In a minor victory for opponents of the US, the meeting agreed to create an Internet Governance Forum that will meet in Athens in 2006.
The body will comprise representatives from governments, enterprises and civil organisations, but will have no power to make any decisions on which country or organisation controls the internet.
The agreement to keep the internet untouched has not solved the actual conflict. In an extreme situation, a group of nations could break ranks and create a second version of the internet.
This would mean that two people typing the same web address in different geographical locations would end up on different websites.
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