Sunday, March 16, 2014

Update 4/19: Marsha Blackburn to the Rescue; Update 3/24: Even Bill Clinton is Against It; Hurry, Somebody Call Al Gore!

Did Al Gore give his permission for the USA to hand over the internet to the United Nations?

Media Matters says that Fox News Channel is lying about Mr.Obama giving away the internet. Unfortunately, that's not true (but what else should we expect from Media Matters?).  I've been reading the same kind of information FNC is reporting on Politico, at The Heritage Foundation website and at the Wall Street Journal online.

At the present time, a non-profit organization called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is overseeing the internet in accordance with a contract with the US Commerce Department.  This is about to change when the USA hands over control of the internet to the United Nations in September 2015.

This can't be good.  Here's a little blurb from the Heritage article:
Challenges to the Status Quo Governance.  Despite great success, there are serious challenges to the way the Internet is currently governed. Specifically, authoritarian nations wish to implement changes to make the Internet subject to more control and oversight by government. To achieve this goal, these nations have attempted to use various U.N. bodies that are directly controlled by governments, most notably the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), to regulate the Internet.
This article says,..."The ITU ultimately serves the majority of nations which do not want a free and open Internet..." 

and this...
Revelations by Edward Snowden have only contributed to this trend toward international governance. In October 2013, various Internet stakeholders met in Uruguay and issued the Montevideo Statement,which called for “an environment in which all stakeholders, including all governments, participate on an equal footing.”  This is concerning: ICANN has been gaining independence from the U.S. government since its inception, but the Montevideo Statement would reverse this trend with a twist—government oversight would be strengthened—but with 193 governments, not just the U.S., looking over ICANN’s shoulder.
International Internet Idealism vs. Internet Freedom. Broadening international governance of the Internet may sound like a fair and appropriate course of action. But such a path will allow bad actors to greatly constrain human rights and freedoms. The irony of the Montevideo Statement is that, in trying to combat balkanization of the Internet and Internet surveillance, it makes ICANN more vulnerable to autocratic and despotic regimes, which use broad and repressive censorship and surveillance programs. 
Here's a little blurb from the Wall Street Journal article:
The action had been debated among technologists and policy makers, but the prospect of the U.S. relinquishing control concerns some businesses because of the potential for censorship."If you hand over domain-name registration to someone who doesn't want certain classes of domains registered, then you're setting up a censorship structure," said Bill Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, which represents businesses.  In recent years U.S. policy makers have pushed back against calls from nations including China and Russia for the U.N. and ITU to have a greater role in overseeing the structure of the Web. U.S. officials have previously argued that such an arrangement would lead to the repression of free speech and the Balkanization of the Internet.
Just the mention of China and Russia having a say in the internet sends "censorship" chills down my spine.

Does the following make you feel any better?
According to Larry Strickling, administrator for the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration the new governance model must ensure that Icann is free from government influence. The plan must also fulfill several other conditions, such as preserving the security and stability of the Internet while keeping it open and free from censorship.
I didn't think so.

This issue has been on the table for a long time.  According to some of the articles, the US has fought back against giving away control of the internet, but apparently the Obama Administration isn't too worried about it.  Can he really be so naive or is this just one more way to knock down the influence of the United States in the world?  I think it's the latter.  I'm betting this is just one more item checked off Mr. Obama's bucket list.

UPDATE 3/24:

Former President Bill Clinton is against the handing over the the internet by the US.  I doubt Mr. Obama cares about Mr. Clinton's opinion.  I wonder if Mrs. Clinton will put her 2 cents in on the matter.

Bill Clinton Opposes Internationalizing Internet Control

UPDATE 4/19:

Hopefully, this puts an end to the internet give-away:

More reading:

U.S. Plans to Give Up Oversight of Web Domain Manager (March 2014)


  1. Don't tell me. They are handing over the internet to the United Nations so that we can't sell ammunition on it, talk about guns, self defense, or have anything gun related upon it ? It wouldn't surprise me.

  2. It's not the government's to hand over to anyone.


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