The Obama administration will soon relinquish United States’ control of the back end of the Internet. Some are now very concerned that censorship and free speech issues will evolve as countries like Russia and China garner a portion of the international overseer role of the World Wide Web. Since the US Military (not Al Gore) created the Internet, domain name acquisition and other open access policies has been under the guidance of America.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ICANN) has contracted with the USA for more than a decade to manage the address system. Now, the California-based company wants to shed it’s “all-American image” and go global, according to Politico.
Over the weekend the Obama administration announced that the federal government will not renew a management contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers when the existing one expires next year. The decision appears to follow a proposal by the European Union to establish a “clear timeline” to take the company and the Internet duties it performs global.
It is not currently know what country or nations will grab a portion of the online reigns and exert their influence over how the Internet is managed.
South Carolina Republican Tim Scott had this to say about loosening United States’ control the Internet:
“While I certainly agree our nation must stridently review our procedures regarding surveillance in light of the NSA controversy, to put ourselves in a situation where censorship-laden governments like China or Russia could take a firm hold on the Internet itself is truly a scary thought.”
Moments after the Obama administration announced the Internet changing of the guard, California Republican Mary Bono said, “This is red meat for the base. We’re at a critical time where Putin is proving he is capable of outmaneuvering the administration. As they digest it [international internet control] I think people are going to be very upset. It could be the beginning of censorship. Anyone frustrated with the UN Security Council could take a look at this and recognize potential problems.” Bono sponsored a resolution to keep the World Wide Web free of government control in 2012.
A horde of American lawmakers have long warned against giving ICANN’s Internet authority to the United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union. Those opposed to sharing control of how the Internet functions are concerned that online censorship and cyber hacking will become big problems.
West Virginia Democrat Senate Commerce Committee Chair Jay Rockefeller heralded the transitioning of Internet authority out of solely American hands. “[This is] the next phrase toward an independent entity that reflects the broad diversity of the global Internet community,” Senator Rockefeller said.
A statement about the loss of Internet control by the Americans for Limited Government reads:
“Congress needs to prevent the Obama administration from giving away U.S. control over the Internet to any international body,” Americans for Limited Government said in a statement. “Perhaps this latest egregious action by the Obama administration in their quest to deconstruct the United States will finally wake Congress up to their power of the purse responsibility as a co-equal partner in government.”
What do you think about the Obama administration relinquishing control of the Internet to the global community?
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