August 18, 2022

Obama’s Backdoor Censorship of the Internet

Obama's Backdoor Censorship of the Internet
Slipping quietly under the radars of many people is the decision by the U.S. government to release its effective control of the internet and to hand over the “keys” to international bodies such as the United Nations and its front group, the ICU (International Telecommunications Union).

This decision was more or less finalized when the Obama administration Department of Commerce decided not to renew the contract whereby ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), a non-profit corporation created to basically administer the internet, controls the assignment of domain names for websites and the like. As such, ICANN’s control will effectively end in September 2015, and the “world community” will become responsible for governing the internet through “world institutions” via the UN.

Anyone who cannot see what an incredibly dangerous assault on free speech this is, not just in the United States but also worldwide, is simply not paying attention.

As noted in the article,

The responsibilities to be farmed out will include the administration of changes to the DNS’s authoritative root zone file—the database containing the lists of names and addresses of all top-level domains—as well as managing the unique identifiers registries for domain names, IP addresses, and protocol parameters.”

This, essentially, is the nuts and bolts of the internet. These international bodies will have control over who gets (and gets to keep) their domain names and IP addresses among other things, which are essential to having and maintaining a presence on the world wide web. Newt Gingrich’s comment about this will surely end up being sure to be correct,

Every American should worry about Obama giving up control of the internet to an undefined group. This is very, very dangerous…What is the global internet community that Obama wants to turn the internet over to? This risks foreign dictatorships defining the internet.”

He does have a point, after all. Remember, this is the same “world community” that routinely puts incorrigible human rights abusers like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, China, and Venezuela onto the UN Human Rights Council. Yet, there are some in the “academic community” who are blinkered enough to think that potentially handing control of internet access over to a body in which China, Russia, and even Zimbabwe will have the same say as the United States is a good thing,

But this is just scare-mongering, says the Internet Governance Project (IGP), an alliance of academics that has been campaigning for changes to internet governance since 2005, in a statement.

‘Far from “giving up” something or “losing control”, the US is sure to find that its policy has gained strength. We have just made it a lot harder for opponents of a free and open internet to pretend that what they are really against is an internet dominated by one hegemonic state,’ it says.

“‘We have also made it harder for anyone to complain that multistakeholder governance is just a fig leaf for US pre-eminence.’”

Uh huh. This argument is, in essence, yet another display of the same ridiculous “soft power” mindset that drives so much of Obama’s foreign policy (and we can see how well that’s worked). By seeing our example, the “world community” will surely “evolve” to maintain American-style interests in free and open speech on the internet, and therefore would never even think of using their input to, say, ban speech that offends Islam or to prohibit “Free Tibet” or pro-Ukrainian websites from being able to get access.

It’s all hogwash.

Once the “wild, wild West” of internet freedom of speech becomes subject to the input of unelected UN bureaucrats…

Once the “wild, wild West” of internet freedom of speech becomes subject to the input of unelected UN bureaucrats from that large, large part of the world that doesn’t hold freedom of speech to be a basic civilizational ideal, we can expect to find the internet becoming significantly less open. And let’s face it, most of the countries in the world do not believe in freedom of speech. Indeed, a large functional majority of them do not. The Islamic world alone comprises 57 of the 193 members states of the United Nations. What do you do when they get together with China and its vassals, Russia and its lackeys, and the dictatorships of Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa to agree to ban criticism of Islam, the advocacy of decentralization and liberty, criticism of their regimes, and anything else that authoritarian regimes find disagreeable? Simply refuse to grant domains to “objectionable” groups and ideas, and you can strangle their expression in the cradle.

There’s a reason that control of the internet should remain firmly and solely in American (and by extension, Western) hands, regardless of whether tin pot Third World dictatorships view this as “hegemonic” or not—and that is because we are pretty much the only ones in the world who can be trusted to actually keep the internet free. We invented it, after all, and we’ve kept it a safe haven for free speech for around two decades so far.

So why give up control without a fight? Why finally make the move to let ICANN’s contract expire?

Well, it’s because Obama and his fellow leftists in American government and society HATE freedom of speech, as I observed in my previous article. This is the same President who early in his first term wanted a “kill switch” for the internet.

But, Obama and the rest of his liberal pals know that they could not get away with simply censoring the internet themselves. Not only would that be blatant enough that it wouldn’t pass constitutional muster with any but the most partisan left-wing judges, but the uproar it would create would make the opposition to ObamaCare that is about to cost the Democrats the Senate look like a gentle breeze.

So how do you get around the opposition to a policy that you want to enact, but don’t have the domestic support to be able to do? You get “the international community” to do it for you. You hand over the keys to the internet to the dictators and the communists out there in the UN, and let them do what comes naturally.

After all, it’s not like Obama and the American Left aren’t on the same side of most of the relevant issues as the dictators, theocrats, and thugs who run most of the rest of the world. They all hate people who criticize Islam. They all hate the right to keep and bear arms. They all hate Christianity. They all hate individual liberty and personal sovereignty. They all hate capitalism. Many of them can even be convinced to support the gay agenda and punish opposition to it, so long as they’re getting everything else they want. Authoritarians are nothing if not pragmatic, after all.

And even if we wanted to be charitable and suppose that Obama and the Left don’t really have this as their goal, this is still going to be the practical effect of this move. But I’m not feeling very charitable today.

If conservative Republicans in Congress could be convinced to actually do something about this, we might have a chance of preserving a free internet. Barring that, however, it may be time to think about planning for the inevitable loss of internet speech freedom. We built the internet once, we can do it again—the construction of a parallel internet alongside the “official” one might be technically demanding, but would benefit world freedom greatly. Also, it may be time for liberty lovers and conservatives to start “stockpiling” free speech by saving to disk websites, pages, articles, online books, and whatever else is out there that promotes liberty and traditional values. That way, these works will be preserved for the day when freedom once again comes to the internet. Either way, we have to be prepared for the possibility that the world wide web will become nothing more than the official propaganda arms of freedom haters worldwide.