Thursday, October 06, 2005

 

UN To seize Control Of Internet?

The US resists, but it may not matter

Many countries, especially those with authoritarian or socialist governments, want the US to relinquish control of the internet to the UN or some other international body. Correctly, the US has refused to even consider this:
The United States said at the outset of global talks on information technology yesterday that it will fight attempts to put the United Nations or any international group in charge of the Internet.

'We want to make sure the private sector leads and the Internet continues to be a reservoir of great innovation, and that governments continue to focus on enabling the growth of the Internet, and not of controlling its use,' Ambassador David A. Gross told The Washington Times in an interview.
Unfortunately, US efforts to retain control appear to be seriously threatened:
A number of countries represented in Geneva, including Brazil, China, Cuba, Iran and several African states, insisted the US give up control, but it refused. The meeting "was going nowhere", Hendon says, and so the EU took a bold step and proposed two stark changes: a new forum that would decide public policy, and a "cooperation model" comprising governments that would be in overall charge.

Much to the distress of the US, the idea proved popular. Its representative hit back, stating that it "can't in any way allow any changes" that went against the "historic role" of the US in controlling the top level of the internet.

But the refusal to budge only strengthened opposition, and now the world's governments are expected to agree a deal to award themselves ultimate control. It will be officially raised at a UN summit of world leaders next month and, faced with international consensus, there is little the US government can do but acquiesce.
David Hendon, the UK and EU representative who crafted the deal, spins it:
The really important point is that the EU doesn't want to see this change as bringing new government control over the internet. Governments will only be involved where they need to be and only on issues setting the top-level framework.
Yeah, right. Note official Chinese reaction to continued US control, as reported in the Washington Times:
'This situation is very undemocratic, unfair and unreasonable,' said Sha Zukang, the ambassador from China, which this week imposed new rules that allow only 'healthy and civilized' news to be read by the mainland's 100 million Web users.

China's government will determine which news is healthy and which news is not.
China's fascist regime certainly knows what is undemocratic, unfair and unreasonable. But what do they know about freedom or democracy except that both threaten their grip on power? Why should I, as an American user of the internet in the United States -- the country which invented the internet -- be remotely subjected even indirectly to decisions partly crafted or influenced by a fascist Chinese regime and/or other authoritarian governments? How is this fair? Is it reasonable to expect Americans to adhere to rules dictated by people who aren't accountable to us and whose sole claim to power is a ruthless willingness to kill?

Via Geopolitical Review, where Jeff comments:
The proliferation of information through the internet is arguably the greatest threat to the Chinese dictatorship in the 21st century. While China has found success in restricting access to certain websites and arresting those who violate these restrictions, their defensive efforts will never be enough under the current scheme. Greater control over the internet is required to help ensure the Chinese citizenry remains isolated from "dangerous" information and therefore more manageable by the centralized, but increasingly weakened government.
The mere existence of the UN is a direct threat to the US and to freedom in the world. America's economy and our democracy depend on a free internet to function properly. We simply cannot allow unelected, unaccountable, corrupt international bureaucrats to control something so vital. This power grab must be stopped -- one way or another.

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