Tags: Net Neutrality | United Nations | Control | Internet | ICANN

UN Could Take Control of ICANN

Image: UN Could Take Control of ICANN

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By    |   Monday, 29 Aug 2016 10:18 AM

The United Nations is likely to take control of the internet if the United States gives up its stewardship, according to The Wall Street Journal columnist L. Gordon Crovitz.

Crovitz, who is a media adviser and former publisher of The Wall Street Journal, says the U.N. would take control because of the Obama administration's "naivete or arrogance."

His theory that the U.S. would hand over control to the U.N. is based on an inquiry by Americans for Limited Government, an advocacy group that sent a Freedom of Information Act request about the future of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Their request came back saying "there were no records in relation to the request."

They believe this means the Obama administration has no plan on how to allow ICANN to keep its antitrust exemption, which allows it to be a "legal monopolist," Crovitz said.

The U.S. Department of Commerce has been responsible for managing the internet, and subcontracted the job to the private nonprofit ICANN, according to The Daily Mail.

Without the U.S. contract, ICANN would look for another governmental group to control it, so it can retain that exemption. Crovitz writes that authoritarian regimes want ICANN to become part of the U.N., so that they can more easily censor it.

Americans for Limited Government president Rick Manning told The Wall Street Journal report that the "politically blinded Obama administration" missed the point about losing the antitrust exemption.

An independent review of ICANN found that staffers were "intimately involved" in evaluating their own work. Arif Ali, a lawyer for internet registration oversight firm Dot Registry said, "ICANN is not ready to govern itself."

The Associated Press reported in June that the Commerce Department endorsed a proposal to turn over internet control to a private international organization.

Most voters in the U.S. are not in favor of the idea of handing over control, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll, which found that 66 percent were opposed to the idea of the U.S. giving up its control.

The move does not mean that the U.S. is giving up control of the internet and making it vulnerable to authoritarian regimes, according to a National Telecommunications and Information Administration fact page in 2014.

The page said, "The transition process that is under way will help prevent authoritarian countries from exerting too much influence over the internet by putting control of key internet domain name functions in the hands of the global community of internet stakeholders — specifically industry, technical experts, and civil society — instead of an intergovernmental organization."

Congress still has time to extend its ban on the Obama administration from giving up protection of the internet, Crovitz writes, and "the only thing worse than a monopoly overseen by the U.S. government is a monopoly overseen by no one."

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The United Nations is likely to take control of the internet if the United States gives up its stewardship, according to The Wall Street Journal columnist L. Gordon Crovitz.
United Nations, Control, Internet, ICANN
Monday, 29 Aug 2016 10:18 AM
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