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Both Left and Right agree that giving away governance of the Internet is an awful idea

icannOn the Left:  Former President Bill Clinton

At NewsMax, Sandy Fitzgerald writes:

Former President Bill Clinton objects to the Obama administration’s plan to give up the United States’ control over online domain names and addresses, saying that the country’s agencies have done a good job keeping the Internet free and open.

“A lot of people who have been trying to take this authority from the U.S. for the sole purpose of cracking down on Internet freedom and limiting it and having governments protect their backsides instead of empowering the people,” Clinton said during a panel discussion sponsored by the Clinton Global Initiative, reports ReCode.net.

And although National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden’s revelations gave “new energy” to an international opinion that the United States should not be in control of domain names, Clinton disagrees, saying that he does not believe the control should be spread out among other nations.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has been in charge of managing Internet addresses since 1998, and U.S. officials even then proposed giving up U.S. oversight.

ICANN favors the Obama plan, with President and CEO Fadi Chehade saying that the organization is “inviting governments, the private sector, civil society, and other Internet organizations from the whole world to join us in developing this transition process….”

Obama’s plan is meeting with other wide opposition, particularly among Republicans, but U.S. officials say that critics misunderstand the plan….

ICANN’s contract with the U.S. government will expire in 2015, and the Obama administration wants to turn oversight to the “global multistakeholder community.”

But opponents say the plan opens the door for totalitarian governments such as Russia and China to gain more control over the Internet, even though the Obama administration says it won’t cede control to a government or inter-government led organization.

“I understand in theory why we would like to have a multi-stakeholder process,” said Clinton. “I favor that. I just know that a lot of these so-called multi-stakeholders are really governments that want to gag people and restrict access to the Internet.”

 

 

On the Right:  Gov. Sarah Palin

At Politico, Tal Kopan, writes:

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Wednesday slammed the administration’s decision to withdraw its oversight of an Internet governance board, calling it a “colossal” error.

The former Republican vice presidential candidate echoed concerns from other conservatives Wednesday in a Facebook post about the Obama administration’s move to cede oversight over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which manages the way domain names are assigned, to let it become a more globalized organization.

“Evidently relinquishing America’s control of the internet via our Icann control of domain names was what Obama meant when he led his adoring followers in those strange, kind of creepy chants of ‘Yes-We-Can,’” Palin wrote on Wednesday. “Surrendering our control of the Internet is a colossal foreign policy error with long term negative repercussions for freedom.”

Since the announcement last week that the Commerce Department would give up its control of ICANN in 2015 at the end of its contract, which its held since 2000, conservatives have warned that the move could allow authoritarian governments to gain more control over the Internet.

“This is nothing more than a gift to authoritarian regimes who seek to stifle the freedom the Internet gives to voices around the world fighting for basic human rights,” Palin wrote. “No amount of Obama/liberal media spin can justify this.”