NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

THE U.N.'S WAR ON INTERNET FREEDOM ISN'T OVER

November 23, 2005

Putting the United Nations in charge of running the Internet is a very bad idea, says Pete du Pont, chairman of the National Center for Policy Analysis.

The Internet is one of the greatest mechanisms of progress in the history of the world. More than one billion people use it; anyone with a computer and a connection has access to 167 million megabytes of information that is instantly available. Ideas and information can be shared, explained, tested and improved upon. Because of the Internet, governments, economies, institutions and individuals can and do prosper.

But such information threatens a great many despotic nations, says du Pont:

  • The regimes in China, Cuba, Iran, Syria and Tunisia, for example, believe Internet content must be controlled so that individuals do not have access to any information that has not been approved by their governments.
  • In China the word "democracy" is not allowed on the Internet; it is just too dangerous to the communist government.
  • Such nations want international controls on Internet usages and content

Today no organization or government controls the Internet; the independent U.S.-based Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) handles the mechanics of participation, such as domain names and technical codes.

Much of the rest of the world wants the U.N. to take over that responsibility, or as European Union spokesman Martin Selmayr put it, the United States must "give up their unilateral control and everything will be fine."

The U.N.-hosted World Summit on the Information Society has agreed to a process that avoids U.N. control of the Internet -- for now. But the war against Internet freedom is far from over, says du Pont.

Source: Pete du Pont, "Cease-Fire in Tunisia: The U.N.'s war on Internet freedom isn't over," OpinionJournal.com, November 21, 2005.

For text:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/pdupont/

 

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