What is arguably the very last bastion of totally free speech is once again under assault by the world’s tyrants, as the United Nations is now eying regulation of the Internet – as though it was in need of being regulated.
Why? It’s an age-old story.
Leaders of authoritarian regimes the world over hate the free flow of information that is disseminated via the Internet.
They hate the fact that they no longer have a monopoly on ideas and opinion within their own country. They see notions of freedom and liberty as a threat.
They despise any medium that undermines their grip on power. And their regimes are heavily represented in the U.N., of which the United States (once considered the bastion of liberty and freedom) is the largest contributor.
“Who runs the Internet? For now, the answer remains no one, or at least no government, which explains the Web’s success as a new technology. But as of next week, unless the U.S. gets serious, the answer could be the United Nations,” reports The Wall Street Journal.Next week the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union will meet in Dubai to figure out how to control the Internet. Representatives from 193 nations will attend the nearly two week long meeting.
Many of the U.N.’s 193 member states oppose the open, uncontrolled nature of the Internet. Its interconnected global networks ignore national boundaries, making it hard for governments to censor or tax. And so, to send the freewheeling digital world back to the state control of the analog era, China, Russia, Iran and Arab countries are trying to hijack a U.N. agency that has nothing to do with the Internet.For more than a year, these countries have lobbied an agency called the International Telecommunications Union to take over the rules and workings of the Internet. Created in 1865 as the International Telegraph Union, the ITU last drafted a treaty on communications in 1988, before the commercial Internet, when telecommunications meant voice telephone calls via national telephone monopolies.
The self-regulating Internet means no one has to ask for permission to launch a website, and no government can tell network operators how to do their jobs. The arrangement has made the Internet a rare place of permissionless innovation. Regimes such as Russia and Iran also want an ITU rule letting them monitor Internet traffic routed through or to their countries, allowing them to eavesdrop or block access.
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