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Obama moving to hand control of internet over to international organization

Control over the management of the Internet has been in the hands of the United States ever since it was invented by American developers working on behalf of the military during the Cold War. In the years since, the Internet has evolved into necessary technology vital to our daily lives.

One of the reasons why is because U.S. control of the Internet world has meant it has remained free, open and accessible. That would have have been the case if it were invented, say, by the former Soviet Union or China, both of which were authoritarian governments that, still today, control the flow of information to their citizens.

With that in mind, it is both confusing and alarming to encounter a U.S. president who is anxious to hand over control of the Internet to an “international” body whose members will include representatives from closed societies and repressive regimes.

Even worse, the president wants to hand over control of the Internet to the same international entity that has sanctioned technology transfers to Iran, worked hand-in-hand with North Korea, and even ordered “murders for hire,” as reported by the Washington Free Beacon, which cited recent congressional testimony.

The Obama administration is racing to hand over control of America’s Internet to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, a global entity with 162 participating countries and entities. The push to make the transition has triggered no small amount of outage in Congress, where critics rightfully characterize such a hand-off as a mechanism for stifling the free flow of information.

In recent days experts who are well acquainted with ICANN testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts, chaired by Ted Cruz, R-Texas. They noted that the organization frequently operates in a less-than-transparent manner and is not accountable, which has raised concerns about how it would operate free of U.S. oversight.

Experts have noted that on many occasions ICANN has granted official accreditation to those operating as an “arm of a criminal network.” That includes one person who later pleaded guilty to the transfer of U.S. technology to U.S. archenemy Iran, according to testimony by John Horton, the CEO of LegitScript, a firm that works with multiple governments.

ICANN continues to legitimize these individuals and organizations even though there is mounting evidence they have taken part in illegal activities, says Horton. He went on to explain that these criminal sites “remain online because ICANN green-lighted the registrar’s refusal to investigate or take action.”

But that violation and the others mentioned by Horton just touch the surface. Many more disturbing violations are said to have occurred, and handing over control of the ‘Net to ICANN would be tantamount to legitimizing these operations, as well as surrendering the freedom and autonomy the U.S. currently enjoys. And yet, Obama wants to do this.

Cruz, for his part, is leading the fight against the administration. He has sponsored legislation that currently has 25 Senate co-sponsors that would prevent the administration from spending any money on the transition. But even if the measure would pass Congress, it’s not likely that Obama would sign it.  A better strategy would be to attach it to other, must-pass legislation, rendering an “Obama veto threat” doubtful.

But the larger issue is why a U.S. president would cede control over such a vital asset, a question the lamestream media won’t ask him.


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