This just in from Geneva: The United Nations has no plans to seize control of the Internet. The Web-snatching black helicopters have not left the hangar.
Internet conspiracy theorists will be disappointed. The latest one, fueled by “open Internet” groups, Internet companies like Google and some U.S. lawmakers, was that mouse-clicking bureaucrats at U.N. headquarters in Geneva, supported by governments suspicious of the United States, were scheming to take over the Internet itself.
The plot went something like this: At a meeting in December of an obscure U.N. agency called the International Telecommunication Union, Russia, China and their ilk would try to wrest oversight of the Internet away from the loose collection of public and private organizations that do the job now…
By last month these fears had grown so fevered that U.S. lawmakers introduced a resolution calling on the government to block proposals that “would justify under international law increased government control over the Internet and would reject the current multistakeholder model that has enabled the Internet to flourish…”
Of course, all of that translates as “it’s OUR internet and Johnny Furriner better stay hands off!”
Time for a reality check. Documents prepared for the December meeting, which leaked out last week — yes, on the Internet — show that there are no proposals to hand governance of the Net to the I.T.U…
The draft being prepared for the meeting, set to take place in Dubai, includes several Internet-related provisions, including measures to counter spam and bolster cybersecurity…But the draft includes no proposals to change the Internet’s core governance functions, which are handled by groups like the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the Internet Engineering Task Force and the World Wide Web Consortium. ICANN, for example, oversees the domain name system while the later groups develop and maintain technical standards.
“It’s unfortunate that the Congress is spending so much valuable time on something that isn’t even on the table,” said Hamadoun Touré, secretary general of the I.T.U. “There is no single reference to Internet governance in the preparation document…”
The real conflict is not over governance of the Internet, some analysts say, but over the division of the spoils, with international telecommunications operators trying to use the I.T.U. to extract revenue from American Internet companies.
Golly. You don’t really think that honorable and open companies like Google or AT&T might try to stir up geek paranoia just to aid their bottom line – do you?
Would Congress actually participate in stupid phrase-mongering, the ringing of alarums in the middle of the night, wasting taxpayer money on unnecessary scares over foreign intervention over a God-given American property?
Bite your tongue!