Does it really matter that the Obama administration has just given this away U.S. guardianship of domain names on the internet? I mean, this is pretty arcane, right?
It does matter. Betsey McCaughey has explained why in two brief paragraphs:
The United States started the Internet and served as its guardian for many years, assuring that virtually any person or group, no matter how controversial, could add a Web site to the worldwide network. But on Oct. 1, the Obama administration surrendered US oversight to a multinational organization, ICANN — the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
ICANN will have sole power to grant Web addresses — or deny them, essentially banning sites from the Internet. If a site doesn’t have an address from ICANN, you won’t be able to find it.
Here is how the new system works:
ICANN answers to a council that includes over 160 countries. The United States, no longer the referee, has only one vote. Just like China, which blocks tens of thousands of Web sites inimical to Communist Party dogma within its borders. And just like Iran, which censors political messages and photos of women not wearing mandatory Islamic dress.
The danger is that repressive regimes will outnumber free nations and impose censorship everywhere.
“Imagine an Internet run like many Middle Eastern countries that punish what they deem to be blasphemy,” warns Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). It could become impossible to get a Web address that advocates for gay or women’s rights, displays sexy lingerie or criticizes Shariah law …
McCaughey recalls that the internet grew out of a U.S. Defense Department project half a century ago. Dictators have been clamoring for oversight for years, as information is a powerful weapon against a totalitarian regime.
We've just put the weapon in the wrong hands.