United States to Give Up Its Control of the Internet

By:  Bob Adelmann
United States to Give Up Its Control of the Internet

The transfer of control over the Internet to an unknown gaggle of internationalists could spell the end to Internet freedom and the beginning of government censorship of all web content.

Last Friday the Department of Commerce announced that in October 2015 it will relinquish all remaining control over the “root” of the Internet to an obscure but vital private non-profit organization. That group, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), promises to create a new structure that will keep the Internet private, safe, and robust. Many freedom-loving people and organizations are concerned that ICANN will now fall under the governance of the UN and the totalitarian regimes that make up the bulk of its membership.

From the start of the Internet, informally considered to be in 1994, a computer genius named Jon Postel managed the Internet from his office in California, under the name Internet Assigned Names Authority (IANA). When Postel died suddenly in 1998 at age 55, his responsibilities were transferred to ICANN under the control of the Department of Commerce (DoC). Although the relationship between the DoC was constitutionally questionable, violating various constitutional boundaries and safeguards (according to Michael Froomkin, a University of Miami Law School professor), the DoC largely kept its hands off the new entity, allowing it to grow and change and respond to the explosion of the Internet over the next 15 years.

However, the contract under which ICANN has been operating ends September 2015 after which ICANN will operate on its own. What happens after that date is remarkably unclear and fraught with danger. According to Larry Strickling, the head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) inside the DoC, every effort will be made to insure that the new ICANN management won’t be replaced by the United Nations or any other international government agency. Said Strickling: "I want to make clear that we will not accept a proposal that replaces the NTIA role with a government-led or an intergovernmental solution."

His strong stance gave observers of the pending change small comfort in light of others heralding the handoff of Internet oversight and indirect control from the United States to an as-yet-unknown gaggle of collectivists salivating at the opportunity to control the Internet.

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