Will Russia or China seize the Internet once the U.S. steps down?
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
3/18/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
As the United States plans to give up its last remaining authority over the technical management of the Internet, there are growing fears that other super powers, such as Russia or China will seize the entire online community - nations who are all too eager to suppress differences of opinion and silence dissenting speech. This in turn will lead to a "splintered Internet that would stifle innovation, commerce, and the free flow and diversity of ideas."
The Internet world, ran by an oppressive or totalitarian regime would eventually sap out all the positive aspects of the World Wide Web which "are bedrock tenets of world's biggest economic engine."
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "If the Obama Administration gives away its oversight of the Internet, it will be gone forever," Daniel Castro, a senior analyst with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation writes.
He argues that the Internet world, ran by an oppressive or totalitarian regime would eventually sap out all the positive aspects of the World Wide Web which "are bedrock tenets of world's biggest economic engine."
In addition, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, called the announcement a "hostile step" against free speech. "Giving up control of ICANN will allow countries like China and Russia that don't place the same value in freedom of speech to better define how the internet looks and operates," she said in a statement.
These heightened fears come after the Commerce Department announced Friday that it will give the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), an international nonprofit group, control over the database of names and addresses that allows computers around the world to connect to each other. Officials say that U.S. authority over the Internet address system was always intended to be temporary. They say that the ultimate power should rest with the "global Internet community."
Critics warn that U.S. control of the domain system has been a check against the influence of authoritarian regimes over ICANN -- and in turn the Internet.
Others have praised the decision, such as advocacy groups, businesses, and lawmakers. But they are also saying they plan to watch the transition closely.
The Internet was invented in the United States, and the country has always had a central role in its management. As the Internet has grown, other countries have demanded a greater voice. Edward Snowden's leaks about U.S. surveillance have only exacerbated that tension.
China, Russia, Iran, and dozens of other countries are already pushing for more control over the Internet through the International Telecommunications Union, a United Nations agency.
It must be noted that the full transition to full ICANN control of the Internet's address system won't happen until October 2015. Even then, there likely won't be any sudden changes. ICANN was already managing the system under a contract from the Commerce Department.
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