You can be assured, then, that when a new method of spreading information starts to gain steam, predatory tyrants will start licking their chops.
And so it is with the United Nations.
There was a little-noticed meeting in New York City last week; a meeting on the rarified upper floors of the UN building. Kofi Annan was having a little sit-down with the head of ICANN. You don?t know what ICANN is? No problem; it?s the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. This quasi-public corporation, operating under the auspices of the Commerce Department, assigns Internet domain names both here in the US and around the world.
So why was Kofi Annan, the erstwhile president of the whole wide world, interested in ICANN? Because while he was meeting upstairs, downstairs at the UN we had representatives from about 200 nations and other organizations who were interested in seeing the United Nations gain control over the Internet, that?s why.
There is no greater source of world-wide information today than the Internet. This massive information database covering everything from politics to economics to sports to cures for warts simply cannot be ignored by governments who love to control such things.
The initial idea here is for the United Nations to merely exercise control over the assignment of domain names. That sounds innocuous enough. The stated fear is that the United States might allow political considerations to determine who does and does not get an Internet domain, and that ICANN could shut down domains from countries that don?t toe the American line. The Palestinian Authority, for instance, has been assigned the .ps Internet domain. What if the US orders a shutdown of the domain assigned to the Palestinian Authority shut down to show disfavor for Yasser Arafat?s latest campaign of violence?
Here?s a better question. What if the United Nations, after taking control of ICANN, decides that the Israeli domain (.il) needs to be shut down? This is not hard to imagine, given decades of UN hostility toward Israel.