I’m no technocrat. I don’t stand to claim that I understand the nitty-gritty behind the decision to relinquish American control of ICANN. I can claim that this may be a bold move on the part of the US Commerce Department & the Obama Administration. How so? The White House may be building a diplomatic framework that encourages Net Freedoms. While protecting intellectual property rights and freedoms of expression/speech/assembly; The US can only approach the Global community from a “neutral” standpoint.
ICANN controls how the internet is addressed. This may not seem huge, but already the internet stands on the crux of something huge. The internet is about to become decentralized and not Anglo-Centric. Of this, the kernal must be created to ensure that any government, including the United States can control the free flow of information any more. The NSA revelations due to Edward Snowden was damning to the US in the sense that it showed how pervasive governments can potentially become through the technological marvels of today. There are bigger lobby’s out there with larger consequences for a “free” Internet within the United States. Issues such as monopolistic consequences for a Comcast-Time Warner Merger or the Net Neutrality lobby of AT&T & Verizon shed a spotlight on the White House, the Bureaucracy, and Congress.
The White House has told the US Department of Commerce to signal its relinquishing of control over ICANN for internal and diplomatic reasoning. Diplomatically speaking, we have strong allies that are beginning to utilize internet censorship to establish autocratic regimes; Turkey & China come to mind. Internally, The White House may have signaled how powerless the government is to the monetary pressures of big business. With the bellwether Citizens United case; Money is now Speech. Corporations are now Persons. Its hard to believe when typed out but this is the legalisms of the 21st century thanks to the Neo-Conservative victories of Reagan & Bush I, II. The pressures of the worst rated Congress in history will break the levy’s controlling the Internet Landscape. Net Neutrality had lost a significant Appeals battle and the previous issues of cable mergers / phone companies are ratcheting up.
The White House had to relinquish Governmental control of some of the governing bodies to the International Community; such as the G7 or United Nations.
The NSA has not relinquished its abilities upon the Internet. The United States recognizes a Cyber Playing Field that is in play with the likes of Russia and China 24/7. By giving up ICANN the US may have given itself more Carte Blanche to continue its activities with less liability. Liability being that the Government of the United States may also be fighting against internal forces that are profiteering on the Internet. The US will inevitably have to go after these forces or be completely disabled, with an AOL-Compuserve model of 1995 internet for the 21st Century. Control in the forces of Corporate Powers, through the weak Congress may be far less advantageous than setting up a Neutral Playing Field through stable, sound, & allied governance of ICANN. If anything this move shows how vulnerable the United States has become to its own Corporate Masters. Masters that legally may be bound to investors not of the United States …
In short, this was a PR stunt. In short, this was a bold move to keep the internet free as we know it!
If you are an internet activist and a political activist; please do all you can to plant the mental virus of Freedom. The 21st Century deserves the Natural Law understood by the 18th Century Founding Fathers.