Sunday, October 09, 2005

The UNternet

Look out; there's another UN powergrab afoot. There are ominous rumblings of a multinational "hostile takeover" of the Internet, wresting control from the US government. See this article on OpinionJournal:
"Kofi Annan, Coming to a Computer Near You! The Internet's long run as a global cyberzone of freedom--where governments take a 'hands off' approach--is in jeopardy. Preparing for next month's U.N.-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society (or WSIS) in Tunisia, the European Union and others are moving aggressively to set the stage for an as-yet unspecified U.N. body to assert control over Internet operations and policies now largely under the purview of the U.S. In recent meetings, for an example, an EU spokesman asserted that no single country should have final authority over this 'global resource.'

To his credit, the U.S. State Department's David Gross bristled back: 'We will not agree to the U.N. taking over management of the Internet.' That stands to reason. The Internet was developed in the U.S. (as are upgrades like Internet 2) and is not a collective 'global resource.' It is an evolving technology, largely privately owned and operated, and it should stay that way."
"Global resource" my foot. That's just code for "You invented it. You built it. We want it." The UN, an "organization" that can't even define terrorism, let alone develop an effective response, should be in charge? That is just the kind of bureaucratic, hidebound creature we need to manage a constantly-changing, highly-complex, decentralized, critical piece of communication technology. We can have China and Iran in charge of determining the "appropriate" limits of speech. (See the members of the UN Human Rights committee, if you doubt this).

This shows some of the hidden dangers of trying to rehabilitate the UN as President Bush is doing through Ambassador John Bolton. There's very little chance of success. The UN is not a force for good; it is not even harmless. The interests of America, i.e. the interests of freedom and capitalism, are directly at odds with the interests and desires of the UN bureaucracy. That's not likely to change. Ever.

Update: You have to love the irony of a "World Summit on Information Technology" being held in Tunisia. No doubt Iran was booked.

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