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Author Topic: The U.N. wants to control the Net
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United Nations Last Updated: Oct 20th, 2005 - 14:31:22


A World Wide Web of Oppression
by Steven J. DuBord
August 8, 2005

Any plan for an Internet effectively controlled by the United Nations will serve only to blanket the globe in a world wide web of oppression.

A United Nations-appointed panel has done it again. Or not done it again, depending on your perspective. What did they do? They convened purportedly on behalf of the best interests of every man, woman, and child on the face of the Earth — this time regarding the fate of the Internet — though they were not elected to this task by any of the billions they supposedly represent. What didn't they do? Agree, thank goodness.

There are few things worse than unelected, unaccountable "representatives" actually agreeing on what they think is best for the world and leaving the world no say in the matter. Come to think of it, these people do represent someone; they were nominated by the UN secretary-general. The fact that he is knee-deep in the UN's oil-for-food scandal — one of the biggest humanitarian aid swindles in history — just might shake our confidence in his hand-picked team.

Reuters reported on July 14 that this panel, the Working Group on Internet Governance, was unable to reach an agreement on who should manage the Internet and how the job should be done. They did, though, come up with four models for overseeing the Internet that ranged from maintaining the status quo of U.S. management with private sector involvement to putting the assignment of all Internet domains under the auspices of the UN. Reuters stated: "At issue for the world body is who runs the Internet and how it can better serve the world."

To "better serve the world" … hmm, shades of the old Twilight Zone episode in which aliens visited Earth and brought with them a book reassuringly titled To Serve Man. It turned out that the aliens were taking humans back to their home planet on a one-way trip because … (spoiler alert) To Serve Man was a cookbook. As this publication has previously noted ("Make Way for the UNternet?" on January 26, 2004, and "UN to Make Internet a Global 'Common Heritage'?" on March 21, 2005), the United Nations has long desired to "serve" the world by running the Internet.

Yet the UN's real stake in the issue is not how the Internet can better serve the world, but how it can better serve world government. For an Internet effectively controlled by the UN is an Internet effectively controlled by government. That the UN-appointed panel was called the Working Group on Internet Governance gives this away. To see what an Internet effectively controlled by government looks like, one need look no further than to a permanent member in good standing of the UN Security Council, Communist China.

Through both technology and regulation, Communist China has severely limited access to the Internet from within its borders, creating what has been called the Great Fire Wall of China. Yet the building of this Great Fire Wall has not disqualified China from membership in the highest ranks of the United Nations. How will it serve the world to turn over the Internet to a body that tolerates such tyranny?

Communist China's totalitarian Internet policies are the most repressive in the world. The Open Net Initiative, a joint effort by the University of Toronto, Harvard University, and the University of Cambridge, recognized this in their 2004-2005 study on Internet filtering in China. Beijing "operates the most extensive, technologically sophisticated, and broad-reaching system of Internet filtering in the world." Anyone who opens an Internet account in China must register it with the police. Chinese Internet Service Providers are required to track their customers' usage and websites visited. Cyber cafés offering public Internet access "must keep detailed logs linking users to the pages they visited." The Open Net Initiative study points out that "China's intricate technical filtering regime is buttressed by an equally complex series of laws and regulations that control the access to and publication of material online."

U.S. firms desiring to do business in Communist China must bow to these repressive regulations and to Beijing's lust for absolute control over its subjects. French news agency AFP reported on June 13 that Microsoft, Yahoo!, and Google have all agreed to cooperate in censoring the Internet from their China-based sites by filtering out content that the Chinese government finds objectionable. The list of forbidden words includes "democracy," "freedom," "human rights," and "Taiwan independence." AFP also noted that any China-based websites not formally registered with the government by the end of June 2005 would be shut down by the government's Internet police.

Article 29 of the UN's Universal Declaration on Human Rights states that "in the exercise of their rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law.... These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations." Since the UN views rights as being given by government, not granted by God, there is apparently no incompatibility between the Communist Chinese policies — which are, after all, "determined by law" — and the "principles of the United Nations."

Any plan for an Internet effectively controlled by the United Nations will serve only to blanket the globe in a world wide web of oppression.


© Copyright 2005 American Opinion Publishing Incorporated

Posts: 4 | From: Saint Louis,Mo. | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gumdrop Girl
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hey Wes, i'm something of a libertarian nutjob, too. But the thing is, Miz S doesn't like it when people plug other boards here. Moreover, your content is 18+ and we serve a 13+ crowd. We prefer that users do not advertise 18+ groups. And another thing, we have a worldwide user base, so they're not all interested in American sovereignty. In fact, given that many of the people here are very far left, i'd have to say they'd be at odds with the values you uphold in your Yahoo! group.

oh, did you have a chance to get actual permission to reprint that article? we'd hate to get sued for unfair use.

if it's any consolation, I'd bet you'd have a lovely time at Reason Magazine's blog. Check out for more libertarian thrills.

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Posts: 12677 | From: Los Angeles, CA ... somewhere off the 10 | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Although in general I'm in favor of a stronger world government to mediate affairs between countries (sort of on the same model as states and the federal government), I do agree that the currect UN structure is horribly suited to this task, especially when it comes to the internet. UN representatives should be elected by their constituents directly, rather than being appointed.

I read an interesting bit about this issue of internet governance on, and several people there suggested a model that seems like it makes perfect sense, and I don't know why more people don't argue for it. Basically, the issue is who controls top-level domains, like .com or .net. Currently, a California corporation with ties to the US government, called ICANN, runs the database that tells your computer where to look for sites with a particular domain. But the thing is, there is no reason other countries can't make duplicate servers subject to their own rules. The advantage of having several parallel systems of "nameservers" is that if suddenly one country decides to institute new censorship rules, the other countries can just decide to not make that change to their servers, and everybody outside the censored country is essentially unaffected, as long as the servers in different countries don't contradict each other. Not only that, but people in a censored country can set their computer to get data from a different country's server, if they prefer the rules of that country's server. An ambitious libertarian could even make their own server if they find the other servers too draconian! Seems like a perfect system to me...

- PERVasive

"Don't let your schooling get in the way of your education." - Mark Twain

Posts: 64 | From: Boston, MA | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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