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Feds' study on Internet took 7 years to complete

It only took seven years and a million dollars, but a government report about that "Internet" thing is finally complete.

The National Academies' Computer Science and Telecommunications Board published its study on Thursday -- long after Congress approved a nearly-forgotten requirement that an investigation be conducted into Internet addresses and governance.

Back in 1998, of course, Bill Clinton was still president, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was still being created and Google was filing its incorporation papers. While the study was being written, Google become a household name, George W. Bush was elected twice, and the 1990s Internet boom became the dot-com bust.

The final report is nevertheless a noteworthy project, not least because it's so massive: the "executive summary" document alone is 31 pages. Overall, the study is a comprehensive look at Internet governance that could conceivably be useful for politicians and bureaucrats. It also serves up common-sense observations, such as the need to "harden" root name servers and a caution about the likelihood of the International Telecommunication Union accumulating more power.