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“President Barack Obama is determined to give away control of the Internet within two months — one of the worst blunders in the history of national security, economic policy, and the fight for liberty generally” – is the headline from Breitbart regarding the United States turning over all rights of the world wide web to a PRIVATE COMPANY called ICANN. This deal has been in the works for over 20 years and will be completed and finalized by October 1, 2016.
What is ICANN?
You may never have heard of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), a Californian nonprofit private organization… but your online life is influenced by its decisions. ICANN coordinates domain names and internet protocol (IP) addresses, the internet’s essential protocols. These services were originally performed under U.S. Government contract by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) and other entities. ICANN now performs the IANA function.
ICANN claims “ICANN is governed by an internationally diverse Board of Directors overseeing the policy development process. ICANN’s President directs an international staff, working from three continents, who ensure that ICANN meets its operational commitment to the Internet community” on their website. The Governmental Advisory Committee has representatives from 111 states (108 UN members aka United members of the United Nations, the Holy See, Cook Islands, Niue and Taiwan aka Chinese Taipei), Hong Kong, Bermuda, Montserrat, the European Commission and the African Union Commission
Advisory Committee Details
Let’s go a little deeper into who the players are:
UN Members: There are 193 United Nations member states. Only sovereign states can become UN members. The members are broken down like this: Asia: 50 seats, Africa: 55 seats, Europe: 42 seats, Latin America: 33 seats, North America: 2 seats, Oceania: 11 seats*
Holy See: is the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, the episcopal see of the Pope, and an independent sovereign entity.*
Cook Islands: a self governing island country in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand. It comprises 15 islands whose total land area is 240 square kilometres (92.7 sq mi). The Cook Islands’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)*
Niue: an island country in the South Pacific Ocean, 2,400 kilometres (1,500 mi) northeast of New Zealand, and east of Tonga, south of Samoa and west of the Cook Islands. Its land area is 260 square kilometres (100 sq mi) and its population, predominantly Polynesian.
Taiwan: “Chinese Taipei” is the name for the Republic of China (ROC) agreed upon in the Nagoya Resolution. The term is deliberately ambiguous. To the PRC “Chinese Taipei” is ambiguous about the political status or sovereignty of the ROC/Taiwan; to the ROC it is a more inclusive term than just “Taiwan” (which the Kuomintang political party of the ROC, in power at the time, considers just one part of “China”, which it, similarly to the PRC, claims to be the rightful government of “China” in its entirety, and to the PRC the use of “Taiwan” as a national name is associated with independence of the area from the PRC)
Hong Kong: officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, is an autonomous territory south to Mainland China at the Pearl River Estuary of the Asia Pacific. With a total land area of 1,106 square kilometres (427 sq mi) and a population of over 7.3 million of various nationalities, it ranks as the world’s fourth most densely populated sovereign state or territory.
Bermuda: a British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic Ocean, off the east shore of North Americaabout 1,070 km (665 mi) east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, 1,236 km (768 mi) south of Cape Sable Island, Canada, and 1,578 km (981 mi) north of Puerto Rico.
Montserrat: a Caribbean island—specifically in the Leeward Islands, which is part of the chain known as the Lesser Antilles, in the British West Indies. It is a British Overseas Territory (BOT).
European Commission: the executive body of the European Union responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU. The Commission operates as a cabinet government, with 28 members of the Commission (informally known as “commissioners”).
African Union Commission: acts as the executive/administrative branch or secretariat of the AU (and is somewhat analogous to the European Commission). It consists of a number of Commissioners dealing with different areas of policy. The Commission is headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
So… now that we know who’s hands the internet will be in, the main fear for this handover is that the United States has a Constitution (what is left of it- and has not been ripped to shreds by our “elected” politicians) that ensures “Freedom of Speech”. Many would consider this right all but dead to American citizens at this time. Just try getting Mark Zuckerberg to give up his tight rein on that freedom to millions of Facebook users as he is busily deleting groups that allow postings he considers “offensive” to Killary or the Obama administration… As many of these members on the board of ICANN are not worried about the “freedoms” of the American people.
Yet, another group of people think this may not have any effect on the US, as ICANN has been managing the operations of the internet since it’s beginning, with the US having veto power, but only using it once in that time. And still others believe this could even be a good thing since Snowden exposed that the US was spying on their own people using the internet.
I have not come to a definite conclusion, yet. I still want to explore more information and hear other ideas regarding each school of thought. All of them seem to make sense to me. It’s a pretty deep subject, of which I feel we will know much more about by the end of October 2016!