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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Very bad news: USA ceding Internet authority to the UN

Art credit: anunews.com

The US is starting to relinquish its sovereignty. Politico reports:

The U.S. Commerce Department is relinquishing its hold over the group that manages the Internet’s architecture amid pressure to globalize its functions in the wake of reports about NSA surveillance.
The National Telecommunications & Information Administration, a Commerce Department agency, said Friday it is transitioning the function to the “global Internet community.” The decision marks a dramatic change. Since the Internet’s inception, the United States has played a leading role in the management of critical back-end Web work, including management of .com and other domain names. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has performed those functions under U.S. Commerce contract since 2000.
. . .
Some U.S. officials have warned about the dangers of ceding ICANN’s authority to the International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations agency, fearing countries like Russia and China could use it to allow online censorship. Congress unanimously passed a resolution ahead of a 2012 ITU meeting, highlighting the U.S. commitment to keeping the Internet free from government control.
Daniel Castro, a senior analyst at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, disputed the connection between NSA revelations and Internet governance in an op-ed Friday, and he warned that ICANN would not be held accountable without U.S. control.
“If the Obama Administration gives away its oversight of the Internet,” he said, “it will be gone forever.”
Some criticism of the decision immediately started popping up on Twitter.
“Every American should worry about Obama giving up control of the internet to an undefined group,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tweeted shortly after the announcement. “This is very, very dangerous.”
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