On October 1, Obama plans to hand over control of the Internet to a company called ICANN. What’s the big deal? It’s just a company, right? Actually, there is a strong possibility that it could result in United Nations oversight of the internet… which may limit the freedom we currently have to use it.
What is ICANN?
ICANN stands for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. They control the DNS – which is the ability to open a domain name when you click on it. The DNS tells the computer where to go and what to do when a URL (address) is entered.
Essentially, it’s the address book of the internet.
ICANN is a multi-national corporation that will need to have an antitrust exemption to operate. Before the hand off, it was licensed to US as a government connected company and allowed to be a legal “monopoly.”
Without the US, that will have to come from somewhere else- like the United Nations (specifically the United Nations International Telecommunications Union – ITU). It has been out from under most of the US oversight since 2009, but we’ve had some control over it even then.
In 1998, President Clinton entered into a contract with ICANN under the auspices of the United States Government. The U.S. has kept a “light hand” on the reins of the internet, and it has grown at a phenomenal rate because of that.
Turning over control
But the US is about to back out. Totalitarian government members of the UN are scared of the internet and want to have control over it.
In a Wall Street Journal article by Gordon Crovitz he wrote,
Without the U.S. contract, Icann would seek to be overseen by another governmental group so as to keep its antitrust exemption. Authoritarian regimes have already proposed Icann become part of the U.N. to make it easier for them to censor the internet globally. So much for the Obama pledge that the U.S. would never be replaced by a “government-led or an inter-governmental organization solution.”
Let’s give an example: Turkey routinely shuts down the internet for their own people after attacks. So do many other regimes around the world.
The Heritage Foundation wrote that there were many problems with the idea of transitioning to ICANN back in 2014,
- Capture by governments and/or intergovernmental organizations. Many authoritarian governments are threatened by the openness and freedom of the Internet and wish to censor or restrict it.
- Accountability (or lack thereof) within ICANN. ICANN could be tempted by its new autonomy. Since it will essentially enjoy a monopoly over core DNS decisions, there are serious concerns that ICANN may act in ways that do not advance the interests of the Internet or its users.
They also raised the question of technical reliability for any new international organization.
How can this be prevented?
The UN is “politically correct” AND sharia compliant. Think about what will happen if the trolls in the UN get control of the internet and how many websites could be severely impacted.
Two bills are currently in Congress to prevent this hand over of the internet: the “Protecting Internet Freedom Act.” The Senate version, S. 3034, and House version H.R. 5418, were introduced in June.
There has been little action on either bill so far, and the bills only have a handful of co-sponsors. October is coming up fast.