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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Obama gives Internet control to ‘global community’ -- By Randolph J. May, The Washington Times

Illustration by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times (Illustration by Alexander Hunter, The Washington Times)

On March 14, the Obama administration announced it was initiating a process to transfer oversight of the Internet from the United States to some yet-to-be-defined global entity.

Assistant Secretary of Commerce Lawrence Strickling said, "The timing is right to start the transition process."

You don't need to be a credentialed foreign-policy expert, however, to harbor reservations concerning the plan to turn over management of key Internet functions to what the Commerce Department called the "global multi-stakeholder community."

It is enough to inject a note of caution to point out that the Obama administration's proclivity to rely on cooperation from the "international community" — rather than U.S. leadership — has not always produced hoped-for outcomes.

To understand what is at stake, it is important to know the essence of the current Internet governance regime and a bit of recent history. Currently, pursuant to a 1998 agreement with the Commerce Department, an entity called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) manages the assignment of Internet domain names and addresses for websites across the globe.

ICANN is a nonprofit, private-sector-led multi-stakeholder organization. ICANN is required to operate in a collaborative and transparent manner that fosters accountability to the various nongovernment stakeholders — commercial enterprises, civil society organizations representing Internet users, technical experts, and so forth — that are represented in ICANN's governance structure.

While it is not true that Al Gore invented the Internet, it is true that the Net's roots are grounded in the United States. It is also true that the U.S. is the only nation with a formal role in overseeing the Internet's functioning, even though the Commerce Department's oversight has been mostly hands-off since ICANN took over management of the domain-name system 15 years ago.

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