The Obama administration is set to quietly forfeit control of the internet effective at midnight, September 30, and the United Nations is positioned to snatch it up, reports the Wall Street Journal.
One of the most important parts of the internet is the Domain Naming System (DNS), which the United States has had the ultimate say over – but the Obama administration is poised to give it all away.
Obama had promised that the U.N. would never take control – instead, he plans to turn it over to ICANN – a non-profit organization based in Los Angeles – and “no one will ever know the difference.”
But L. Gordon Crovitz of the WSJ says “authoritarian regimes have already proposed ICANN become part of the U.N. to make it easier for them to censor the internet globally – so much for the Obama pledge that the U.S. would never be replaced by a government-led or inter-governmental organization solution.”
Congress still has time to take action and extend its ban on the Obama administration giving away the internet, says Crovitz.
Americans for Limited Government had submitted a request through the Freedom of Information Act, asking for “all records relating to legal and policy analysis concerning antitrust issues for ICANN” if the U.S. turns over the internet. Friday, they got a response, claiming no such records exist… and indicating that the government has no plan for how ICANN will retain its antitrust exemption – which leaves it completely vulnerable to a takeover by the U.N.
Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government, called it “simply stunning” that the “politically blinded Obama administration missed the obvious point that Icann loses its antitrust shield should the government relinquish control.”
The administration might not have considered the antitrust issue, which would have been naive. Or perhaps in its arrogance the administration knew all along Icann would lose its antitrust immunity and look to the U.N. as an alternative. Congress could have voted to give Icann an antitrust exemption, but the internet giveaway plan is too flawed for legislative approval.
ICANN has already shown signs of abuse in their power over assignment of domain names, rejecting many requests for domains. For example, ICANN has refused to award the .gay domain to LGBT groups – instead putting the .gay domain up for auction in order to earn larger fees. And the American Institute of CPAs wants the .cpa address to be used only by legitimate accounts, while ICANN wants to put it out to the highest bidder.
As the administration spent the past two years preparing to give up the contract with Icann, it also stopped actively overseeing the group. That allowed Icann to abuse its monopoly over internet domains, which earns it hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
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