I’m getting sick and tired of all these bloggers posting paranoid Black Helicopter visions of the United Nations “taking over” the internet. As if the United Nations was one monolithic superpower threatening to engulf the poor, beleagured United States. In fact the situation is the reverse.
Among the ill-informed blog entries on the subject are: “Keep Your UN Off My Internet,” the “UNternet” and “The World Wide Web of Bureaucrats”.
The United States government, and the US military, was unquestionably instrumental in the development of what later evolved into the global information network of networks that we call the Internet. But the protocols, applications and coordination mechanisms that have led to the Internet’s unpredecented growth has been an international effort led by civil society, the private sector and academia. To say that the United States government should own and control the Internet into perpetuity is the most extreme form of nationalism and myopia.
The reality is that a growing coalition of governments and civil society organizations are challenging the “Don’t fix what ain’t broke” attitude of the American government. The African group, the Arab Group and Canada have all weighed in. The Arab Group calls for “the reinforcement of the role of Governments in ICANN decision making with regard to relevant Internet public policy issue”.
Even the European Union, led by the United Kingdom (!), has proposed that “all stakeholders — governments, the private sector, civil society and other interested parties — should actively participate in Internet governance in a coordinated and balanced manner…”
Whether or not this unprecedented effort will lead to some small concession by the US that it isn’t the center of cyberspace is open for negotiation. The final showdown will be the resumed session of Prepcom III from November 13-15 in Tunis. Keep your powder dry…