Rachel Alexander

Since the Internet now permeates our lives in every possible way, it is disturbing that Obama has relinquished U.S. control over its underlying structure. Control will be turned over to a global panel, which will include totalitarian countries that do not value our First Amendment protection of free speech.

Since 1998, through a contract with the U.S. government, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a nonprofit corporation, has administered the IP numbering network and domain name system (DNS) worldwide, controlling .com, .gov, etc. ICANN has done a fairly respectable job administering the rules and standards. Its board is composed of an incredibly diverse selection of foreign citizens. The vice chair is Australian. The current makeup of ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee includes 109 nations, plus the European Union and the Vatican.

To claim that ICANN is under U.S. control is really in name only, since the U.S. members of the organization have worked together successfully to forge consensus with foreign members. In spite of this,international interests have been pressuring the U.S. since 1998 to relinquish all control from ICANN to an “international organization.” The Department of Commerce under President Clinton indicated it intended to eventually cede control.

The final straw came when whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the NSA had spied on its European allies during the Obama administration. This gave Obama an excuse to arrange for the transfer of power away from ICANN.

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

Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a nonpartisan tech-focused D.C. think tank, wrote on the organization’s website, "While on the surface this may seem like a simple administrative decision that gives more control over this key Internet function to more stakeholders, it could actually have far reaching negative implications for the freedom and security of the Internet.”

Rachel Alexander

Rachel Alexander is the editor of the Intellectual Conservative. She also serves as senior editor of The Stream.