Don’t Hand Over the Internet to the UN by US Senator Fred Thompson

US Senator and Republican presidential candidate, and a long shot at that, writes why the US should retain control of “the tubes” and not hand them over to the UN. This article was originally published back in November on his website.Fred Thompson writes:
I’m no tech head, but I think I know a thing or three about the Internet and how it works. And as far as I can tell, it works pretty well.More than 1.4 billion people around the world seem to be emailing each other a lot, and those emails get delivered a lot faster and more reliably than “snail mail.” Lots of people are innovating around the Internet – voice calling over the Internet, e-commerce, blogs, education, employment, and healthcare services, music and video streaming and downloads, and such – and lots and lots of people are profiting from those innovations and the websites and companies that operate online.So if things are going so well, why is it that some folks are seriously thinking about taking management of the Internet away from the United States and handing control to the United Nations?Foreign government officials from around the world meeting at a U.N.-sponsored conference in Brazil actually discussed this notion last week. It didn’t get much attention, but as we all know, that’s how bad ideas get traction.Despite what Al Gore may think, the Internet was an invention of the U.S. government and a number of universities and other entities a couple decades ago. As the Internet became what it is today, the government created a nonprofit organization, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, to manage what was then a growing network of networks. Today ICANN does things like manage the assignment of Web sites domain names – the .coms, .orgs, .edus – for example.But countries like China aren’t happy about U.S. control of “the tubes.” They’d rather have the U.N. run it. I wonder how the U.N. would’ve handled the situation in Burma recently when the government cut off all Internet access to all anti-government protesters, or how it would’ve handled the imprisonment in China of dissidents and reporters who emailed news out of the country.My hunch is that we’d see the same level of management of the Internet from the U.N. that we’ve seen when it came to peacekeeping operations in Africa. Or its management of Saddam Hussein’s “Oil for Food” program. Or its monitoring of Iran’s nuclear program. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if when you look up “fool’s errand” in the dictionary, you find: “Role for United Nations'” as the definition.The notion of surrendering management of the Internet – a global, strategic infrastructure for communications and commerce – to the UN is just a plain dumb idea. We shouldn’t be handing over something that works right to an institution that has difficulty doing anything right.See fred08.com/NewsRoom/Commentary.aspx?ID=d01e7c2b-dc56-4bd3-b29c-980e3f247b29 for the article on Fred Thompson’s website.

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