According to Wall Street Journal technology reporter Gauthem Nagesh, the Obama administration’s move to divorce the United States from ICAN oversight is, in part, related to the damning revelations resulting from the Edward Snowden NSA disclosures.
“The U.S. position and that of its allies is that the Internet should be free and open and the government shouldn't interfere with it. That position has been undermined by the wrath of disclosures regarding surveillance from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. And China and Russia, who have always pushed for a more hands-on, top-down approach to the Internet that some people would label as censorship. Well, that approach has gained traction because while the U.S. has been loudly decrying this, they've also been doing a lot of stuff that people don't feel corresponds with the idea of Internet freedom,” says Nagesh (http://n.pr/1gJ3Y4N).
In an editorial penned 28 DEC 2003 (http://bit.ly/1mmEoe0), I voiced concern at that time regarding the issue of Internet freedom. The recent move by the Obama administration to divorce the US from their current oversight role should give us all concern, especially now.
Why is it so important for the Internet to remain truly free? Because there are governments, organizations, and Elitists who want to regulate it in a variety of ways for a variety of purposes, none of which are good. Although at some point in our nation’s history I would argue that the withdrawal of our government oversight is bad for a free and independent Internet, I’m not so sure that this applies today. This is because there are those in our own government who would have more regulation and government control.
Some of the ways that more control can harm us includes:
- Censorship of the press
- Intelligence gathering programs on individuals and organizations
- Elimination of domain name use by individuals and organizations who dare to speak out against certain individuals in government and elsewhere in society
- Harassment by government hacks
- and others
One of the fears that this writer has, with regards to the withdrawal of U.S. oversight, is that socialistic and communistic nations, such as Russia and China, will eventually wrangle control of ICANN. There are many news accounts over the past few years regarding China’s effort to censor what the Chinese people read on the Internet.
One of the foremost examples involves Google Search. “Every big American Internet company is angling for the same thing, more or less: global domination. But the one country where they have the most potential for growth also has some of the most entrenched competition and thorniest human rights issues. The battle for China’s 618 million Internet users is fraught with moral and logistical problems that have sent Twitter, Facebook and Google all packing in recent years. Now LinkedIn is making an aggressive play to enter the People’s Republic, but questions remain about just what kind of sacrifices the company will have to make to please the country’s government,” says Victor Luckerson (@VLuck, http://ti.me/Q0NVdy).
There is no crystal ball that will allow us to peer into the future-a future without the U.S. in a watchdog position in ICANN. But if the United Nations can be held up as an example of what can and will happen once this divorce is final, then we already know the answer to our concerns. -30-
About the Author:
Allan B. Colombo is a trade journalist and technical writer in the life-safety and physical security markets. His work in this venue over the past 28 years is well known across the globe. Colombo also is the publisher and administrator of www.GiantKilles.Org from 1995 through 2005. For more information, go to www.AlColombo.net. To contact him, call 330-956-9003 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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