On Sept 30, 2016 our internet will be transferred. Unless you say No.
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With so much media attention drawn to other events, you may not know that on Sept. 30, 2016 the United States is set to hand over control of US internet to global authority. It’s complicated. There are reasons to not privatize the internet, not allow global control; yet there are reasons to remove the US stronghold of the internet after revelations of abuse and US surveillance. However, because the general public has not sufficiently been informed, because there appear to be back room deals and because the internet is SO important economically, socially, globally, in every sector, we think this transfer of US internet control should not happen quietly and should not happen during an election year when the public is not aware, not fully apprised of its impact. Importantly, there is no guarantee of internet freedom of speech, privacy and security written into this transfer.
The transfer of internet rights is not to be taken lightly
Imagine an internet where you cannot access certain sites, such as news sites or Twitter, Google, or DNCLeaks or Facebook. Imagine instead, an internet that could be censored, like currently is the situation in China or Russia or Iran. Why would the US transfer the oversight of our internet to countries outside of the US? Once control is abdicated and the internet authority is transferred out of US borders, our US Laws, our US Constitution and guaranteed Freedom of sSeech would no longer apply. Censorship-free Internet access is an American right, but perhaps not for long, especially, critics say, if the internet will be under UN control.
This push to give away oversight of our internet has been in the works for several years. In 2014, Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a nonpartisan tech-focused D.C. think tank, wrote that in transferring internet control, the U.S. was effectively giving up its “bodyguard” role. “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,” he wrote.
Fast forward to today, two years later, where the same concerns of internet censorship, security, and privacy rights remain, yet the transfer of US internet authority is scheduled to go through at midnight on September 30, 2016, UNLESS Congress creates and passes a bill to block it. Without Congressional intervention, control over how information is accessed on the World Wide Web will be given to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and our US internet will be under International, not American, control.
August 28, 2016, The Wall Street Journal writes, “If the U.S. abdicates internet stewardship, the United Nations might take control.” In fact, “Authoritarian regimes have already proposed ICANN become part of the U.N. to make it easier for them to censor the internet globally,” says L. Gordon Crovitz of WSJ. “So much for the Obama pledge that the U.S. would never be replaced by a ‘government-led or an inter-governmental organization solution.’”
A Secret Board Resolution Paved Way In ICANN Internet Globalization Agenda
Philip Corwin, Founding principal of Virtualaw LLC, and ICANN watchdog for the Internet Commerce Association, spoke out recently at the 49th ICANN meeting. As reported in this Breakaway blog, during the meeting, Corwin expressed his concern that the United States ceding control of the internet was based on “false premise”. Corwin is opposed to the ICANN Internet Globalization Agenda. Corwin states,
“I am a globalization skeptic, which does not mean that I’m against globalization in the abstract. It means I have great concerns about the quest for globalization that’s going on right now. We are clearly in a time for ICANN of hope and change, that makes me very nervous because hope is not always rewarded and change is not always for the better. I’m also a firm believer in the maxim if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Corwin also revealed that ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade passed secret resolutions to further the goal of “an internet cooperation agenda.”
“In the last period, particularly in the question which was out there since last summer of whether the NSA revelations undermined trust in ICANN and the Internet and required the type of response we’re seeing. Instead, we saw the establishment of top‐down presidential strategy panels. We saw ‐‐ and I hate to say this ‐‐ a new low point in ICANN with the secret Board resolution last September that authorized the CEO to take many of the actions that have been taken… Corwin notes that “While the Montevideo Statement was signed by ten entities, the actual work of coordinating its issuance was performed by CEO Chehade pursuant to a secret resolution passed by the ICANN Board on September 28th.”
Corwin notes that“No consultation effort was engaged in with ICANN’s stakeholders and constituencies before these decisions were made.”
Concerns of ICANN joining or being controlled by foreign governments seem to be warranted, dating back MANY years
Sources say if you were to search Wiki Leaks, using ICANN as a search term, you would see that the PROPOSAL TO DRAW UNESCO AND ICANN CLOSER TOGETHER has been the agenda all along. For instance, 2009 emails between the White House and foreign ambassadors suggest that since there is no formal partnership between the two organizations (However, UNESCO is an observer at ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee), emails suggest there should be a partnership. Apparently, in 2009, it was written that if the U.S. would support this partnership, a certain foreign Ambassador and chair of ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee might try to introduce a draft resolution at an upcoming Executive Board or General Conference. These emails supposedly suggest that since many countries didn’t understand the technical jargon, perhaps a negotiated contract between UNESCO and ICANN would be a good option, as such an agreement might not need the approval of member states.
If you agree that keeping our internet free and open is important, if you enjoy the ability to search and access uncensored websites and media, PLEASE Contact your Congressman, your state legislators, Dept. of Commerce and ask them to NOT transfer internet authority to ICANN. Ask them to stop this transfer and instead hold public town halls, get public input, and include enforceable penalties for abuse, create adequate guard rails that would ensure freedom of speech and protect internet privacy and security.
U.S. Dept of Commerce: (202) 482-2000
- Contact Commerce Leadership with your comment
- U.S. Commerce Dept. on twitter: @
- Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker on Twitter:
Contact info for your elected legislators:
- U.S. Senators in Washington DC – Get contact information for your senators in the U.S. Senate.
- U.S. Representatives in Washington DC – Find the website and contact information for your representative in the U.S. House of Representatives.
- State Legislators – Find the names and current activities of your state legislators.