6 Nov 2005

Strangling The Internet

The Third World, Eurocrats and the U.N. look ready to continue an increasingly acrimonious battle for "control" over the Internet with America. The USA "owns" the Internet, having invented it as a military tool in the 70's and then given it away to scientists and universities when it was no longer needed by the US armed forces. From thence it spread to the private sector.

An American committee (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) controls the domain name system (the .com,.og,.co.ke and so forth) and access to the master codes for the naming system.

In fact the USA has done a magnificent job of not "controlling" at all the Internet it rightfully invented. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide have free internet mail accounts with US firms, as just one example.

The US Corporation owning the domain name system charges a few dollars only for anyone,anywhere to register a domain. The Internet is an incredible resource of free information, good and bad, accessible to everyone everywhere.....Well almost.

The ICANN "controls" nothing in the form of Net content, be it pornography or healthcare tips, dissertations on microbiology or the sale of fake Rolex watches. However, governments can block internet content they do not like,if they wish.

A Kenyan visiting Dubai cannot log on to a perfectly decent dating website like AfroIntroductions. A little sign pops up saying that such sites are not allowed as "contrary to the moral and religious principles of the United Arab Emirates". Dating is censored in many Muslim countries.

Similarly, looking up "Tianamen Square 1989" on Google in Communist China will get you nowhere, since the communists do not want debate on the role of the party in massacring hundreds of pro-democracy students in that famous incident. The Chinese government blocks that and millions of other sites as it fears the internet will allow it's people access to free expression, one thing Communists dislike a great deal. After all, truth is a light against dark political minds.

As far as the US is concerned, the Internet and it's domains are like a form of electronic paper. We don't prosecute papermakers because someone prints a lie, a racial hatred pamphlet, a fake advertisement or a call to jihad. We do not shut down the inkmakers factory because someone prints leaflets we don't like, though we may choose to prosecute the writer of such. The US thus does not seek to control access to the internet, leaving it to others to do that, if they wish, at national or parental level. That makes sense to me.

Typical of the complaints of control-minded Third World and European elites about the wonderful,crazy,free world of the internet are these comments from Kenyan journalist Wairagala Wakabi in the East African newspaper:
"the ICANN lacks any power to affect the broad range of public policy issues associated with the Internet".
In other words, ICANN does not adopt an ideological position. He quotes the Panos London agency worrying whether the
"Internet governance system should address the question of controlling undesirable content - pornography,hate content,crime".

The "solution" proposed is to put control of the domain system in the hands of the UN, with a committee of "multi-country and multi-stakeholder" governors. Translation? Putting unelected U.N. bureaucrats and Brussels-based officials in charge of "controlling" who can say what,where on the Net. That will be soon followed by taxing the Internet by governments and thus drive up it's costs.

Let's see. The U.N. was unable to prevent a massacre in Rwanda, could not stop Serbs killing 5,000 Muslims in Sebrenicza and can't control Saddam's Oil-For-Food scandals, but they are going to do just fine deciding what the 7 billion citizens of earth can and cannot do with the Internet? The Eurocrats are screwing the 3rd World with farm subsides and can't prevent mass religious violence in Europe, as we are now witnessing, but they are going to "control" hate content on the Internet? Dozens of non-democracies and petty tyrants in governments all over the world like Iran, Equatorial Guinea and Zimbabwe should be given a say in what you can and cannot read internationally and not just in their own miserable countries?

US "control" over the Internet, which as we see is no control at all, seems completely wonderful compared to those sorry ideas. The Internet is the last and only way people of the world can communicate in freedom. It is supremely subversive of established order and "perceived truth". The US has utterly rejected the proposals of the UN and others to hand it over to an "international committee" and they should be totally supported by the global citizenry.

Instead, the US will be propangandized into being the "villain" in this matter by Ministers of Information and their allies worldwide. I have a better idea. If the UN and others are unhappy with the Internet as it stands, then they should go start their own that they control, and see how many people worldwide log on. That's freedom.


Wild said...

Hah...very well said.

The people least qualified to control anything want to control the internet.

We must be very aggresive in fighting this plan by the UN and it's minions.

Bill Crittenden said...

I think that the opposite of your last statement might come true...if the UN controls the Internet and begins hard censorship, Americans will just start another one to replace it.