White House Undermining Web Through Giving Authoritarian Regimes More Power At ICANN

The Obama administration is “seeking to give authoritarian regimes more power to impose censorship on the Web” through giving them more powers through organisations such as ICANN, says an editorial in the right-leaning Washington Times.The editorial says that “as the influence of the Internet has grown, ICANN has come under increasing scrutiny for foreign governments seeking more control over the system.” It is also a view that is espoused on many right-wing blogs and comments under articles in the right-wing press.The editorial says that the “Bush administration time and again rebuffed these power-sharing proposals” while in “October 2009 the Obama administration concluded an agreement with ICANN that increased international input on Internet governance. ICANN now has a foreign advisory board representing 100 countries, and the Obama administration is pushing for them to have veto power over the introduction of new top-level domains to which they may object.””O Force propaganda aside, the central issue is not trust but control. Giving more power to leading Internet censors like China, Iran or Saudi Arabia won’t build confidence, it will simply allow these countries to be more creative in finding ways to shut down dissent and control information at much higher levels. The Obama administration’s internationalist approach to Internet governance is a direct expression of the president’s general belief that the United States is too large, too powerful and has too much influence on world affairs – but moves toward internationalizing Internet governance will introduce countless new problems for free communication, commerce and cybersecurity.”Kowtowing to countries that see freedom as a threat and cyberspace as a battlespace will only further erode America’s global position. Maybe that is the White House objective.”The full editorial is available from www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/mar/4/obama-to-the-internet-no-icann.