An Orwellian Takeover of the Internet?

According to a recent article by L. Gordon Crovitz of the Wall Street Journal, the internet may be taken over by the United Nations on Sept. 30.

In case, you weren’t aware (just like I wasn’t), the internet in America is overseen by a company called Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. ICANN for short.
Ashley Gold, of Politico, describes ICANN as “…the global nonprofit that manages the internet’s domain name system..” ICANN will lose its antitrust exemption on Sept. 30 and will have to be overseen by another government organization in order for ICANN to keep its exemption.

Why is one company in charge of the internet? Crovitz writes in the article that…

The reason Icann can operate the entire World Wide Web root zone is that it has the status of a legal monopolist, stemming from its contract with the Commerce Department that makes Icann an “instrumentality” of government.

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Why is the U.S. government allowing this to happen? You’d think they would know better. Crovitz continues on to say that…

The administration might not have considered the antitrust issue, which would have been naive. Or perhaps in its arrogance the administration knew all along Icann would lose its antitrust immunity and look to the U.N. as an alternative. Congress could have voted to give Icann an antitrust exemption, but the internet giveaway plan is too flawed for legislative approval.

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What are the implications of the internet being taken over by the United Nations? According to a recent editorial article from Investor’s Business Daily,

ICANN will be prone to influence from many parts, including 160 foreign governments and perhaps even some highly questionable nongovernmental organizations…It sounds very nice, but in fact few nations have the same standards of open expression and freedom of speech as the U.S. Giving them what amounts to a veto over global internet policy isn’t merely unwise; in a world of cyberwarfare and malicious hacking, it’s downright dangerous.

Maybe things will be alright after all. After all, ICANN is a responsible and ethical corporation right? According to Rick Manning of Breitbart,

ICANN revenue in 2015 was $219 million from these and other fees, and they have used some of this tax-free largesse to hire some of the most prestigious firms in the U.S. tolobby for full control of this system, free from having to worry about keeping their vendor contract with the U.S. And for the same reason that ICANN wants to control this money tree without real oversight, the nations who are a small part of ICANN’s multi-stakeholder structure will not be sated by the U.S. ceding control. Instead, it is guaranteed that they will seek to grab the pot of gold through a U.N. structure that would more directly benefit them, and increase their power.

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What in the world is being done to stop this madness? Senator Ted Cruz and some of the Republicans offer some solutions :

Cruz is pledging to make the issue his primary focus this month. He’s already launched a website warning about the dangers of the administration’s strategy, complete with a countdown clock against a black background. And he’s scheduled a hearing of the Senate Judiciary oversight subcommittee he chairs next week to “investigate the possible dangers” of the plan.

Meanwhile, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) said Wednesday that language to delay the transition could be included in the continuing resolution to fund the government past this month. And House Republicans are considering their options in the coming appropriations bill, a GOP aide confirmed this week.

On June 8, 2016, Cruz and representative Sean Duffy from Wisconsin introduced the Protecting Internet Freedom Act which is described as the following:

The bill would ensure the continued protection of Internet freedom by prohibiting the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) from allowing the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions contract to expire, unless specifically authorized by Congress. The Protecting Internet Freedom Act would also ensure that the United States maintains sole ownership of the .gov and .mil top-level domains, which are vital to national security.

I don’t know about you guys, but this world is a very surreal place.

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