Anyone who’s paying attention to the stunning final acts by this President should not be shocked by this potential threat to the world’s freedom of speech. He is anything but a “lame duck”…
The United States could give control of one of the internet’s underlying systems to the United Nations after pledging not to, it has been claimed.
The government has announced plans to relinquish control of the online addressing and numbering system, turning it over to a private international organization.
For years, the US Department Of Commerce has been responsible for managing URLs and ensuring they lead to the proper web pages.
It has subcontracted the task to a private nonprofit, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann).
But the US government, which funded much of the internet’s early development, has so far retained veto power.
Although the US role has been minimal over the years, many foreign governments have complained that the internet can never be truly international if the US retains veto power.
They have sought instead to shift responsibility to an inter-governmental body such as the UN International Telecommunication Union.
But business, academic and civil-society leaders balked, worried that UN involvement would threaten the openness that has allowed the internet to flourish.
Concerns were also raised that UN control would give authoritarian states like China and Iran equal votes among other countries in influencing policies that affect free speech.
Lawrence E. Strickling, assistant secretary for communications and information at the Commerce Department, said the endorsed plan won’t replace Commerce’s role with a government-led or inter-governmental solution.
But the UN could end up managing the addressing system after all, according to Wall Street Journal columnist L Gordon Crovitz.
He based his theory on an inquiry by Americans For Limited Government, an advocacy group that sent a Freedom Of Information Act request related to Icann’s future.
Icann had asked for ‘all records relating to legal and policy analysis’ concerning antitrust issues for Icann, Crovitz reported.
Icann currently benefits from an antitrust exemption because it operates under government control, he said.
The contract between Icann and the US government is expected to expire on September 30.