WASHINGTON, March 16, 2015 – The Internet is the one domain where freedom of speech truly exists. It is this generation’s equivalent of the printing press.
The Obama administration has quietly announced plans to cede control of the Internet to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), an international body and non-profit group based out of California, that seeks larger control, over the Internet.
ICANN’s primary role is over the registration of domain names. The ability to allow or delete a domain name effectively allows ICANN to choose who can, and cannot, maintain an Internet site — who can, and cannot, publish content online.
This change allows the contract between the Commerce Department and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to expire.
“We look forward to ICANN convening stakeholders across the global Internet community to craft an appropriate transition plan,” Lawrence E. Strickling, assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information, said in a statement.
Newt Gingrich has tweeted about this announcement:
What is the global internet community that Obama wants to turn the internet over to? This risks foreign dictatorships defining the internet
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) March 14, 2014
The power grab by ICNN and international groups is not new. This video is dated October 2013:
Now the Obama administration proposes allowing the contract that exists between ICANN and the Department of Commerce to lapse. The assistant secretary for commerce for communications and information released a statement saying, “We look forward to ICANN convening stakeholders across the global Internet community to craft an appropriate transition plan.”
What is ICANN, who are the “stakeholders,” and what is the plan?
International groups have been pressuring the United States for years to cede control of the Internet to an “International” body. Everyone can understand why these groups want that. It erodes American power and it degrades liberty online.
But what is in it for the United States?
The United States gains nothing from this. This does not advance American values. Putting the Internet under the control of nations and groups that do not share the traditional American values of free speech and freedom of expression is one of the fastest ways we can destroy the Internet, and American’s freedom of speech — the good, the bad and the ugly.
Sometimes the very ugly. While ICANN’s control over Freedom of Speech via domain control online could help to eliminate online pornography, it would be like shutting down Hollywood to kill the hard-core-film industry.
The Internet is the biggest threat to dictators and tyrants, those who would control the people they govern. And one thing we know about dictators is that they despise not only freedom and liberty, but also critics and criticism.
On Monday, every American needs to be on the phone to their congressman and their senators and tell them do not allow the Obama administration to cede control of the Internet to an international body.