Does the UN threaten Internet freedom?

Yesterday's opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal by FCC commissioner Robert M. McDowell furiously criticized the United Nations for trying to seize control of the Internet. His inflammatory language pointed the finger at imagined enemies of a free and open Internet. But this looks like a transparent attempt to stop the international community from its rightful control over a critical international resource, as we'll see in The Long View...

Opinion, by Richi Jennings.

All the old bogeymen are here: China, Russia, and top-down, big government. The supposed aims of these Internet enemies also make familiar reading: Governmental control of thought-crime, privacy infringement, and Internet taxes.

Russia, China and their allies within the 193 member states of the ITU want to...expand its reach into previously unregulated areas. Reading even a partial list of proposals that could be codified into international chilling.

He then goes on to list a foaming-at-the-mouth grab-bag of unsubstantiated "fears", but buried within is the one thing he's really concerned about. He says the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) wants to:

Establish for the first time ITU dominion over important functions of...the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the nonprofit entity that coordinates the .com and .org Web addresses of the world.

Yes, Robert, in case you've not noticed, the rest of the world is utterly fed up with the U.S.'s continued control over the Internet domain name system, via its ICANN puppet. Is it really so hard for the U.S. to cede control of this crucial international function to an international body with international oversight? It's, frankly, ridiculous that, 20 years after Al Gore's committee freed the Internet from its non-commercial straitjacket, we're still shackled with U.S. control over this key function. Here are just three examples of why the rest of the world wants this problem finally fixed:

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