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Internet Freedom

Putin wants to control the Internet and Obama wants to let him

Internet World Wide Webby George Landrith

Beginning in the 1960s, shortly after the Russians shocked the world by launching Sputnik, America launched its drive to put a man on the moon. While we were racing towards the moon, we were also developing the Internet. It started out as a military project, but transitioned to academic use and then to public use. By the earlier 1990s, we began to see the Internet that we now know as the world’s largest and most accessible source for information — the world’s mega-library.

You’ve likely heard that the Obama Administration plans to surrender US control of the Internet to some international entity. Russian President Vladimir Putin has made news recently by expanding his control into Crimea and Ukraine and now he has his sights on the Internet. In Crimea and Ukraine, Putin has taken advantage of Obama’s projected weakness in foreign policy. Now he is licking his chops as Obama has announced he will give away control of the Internet to “international stakeholders.” Continue reading


Coalition Letter Opposing Giving Control of the Internet to UN-like Group

Coalition Ltr 032014 Continue reading


Michelle Obama Is Lecturing the Wrong People About Internet Freedom

Obama MichelleThe first lady should aim her ire a little closer to home.  The first lady should be informing her husband about the merits of Internet freedom. 

by Peter Roff

First lady Michelle Obama went all the way to China to lecture the Chinese on the need for free and open access to the Internet, going so far as to declare it a “universal right.” As the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper reported Saturday, Obama told a crowd of about 200 students mostly from the United States that “it is so important for information and ideas to flow freely over the internet and through the media. My husband and I are on the receiving end of plenty of questioning and criticism from our media and our fellow citizens, and it’s not always easy. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.”

Obama went on to say that, “When it comes to expressing yourself freely, and worshipping as you choose, and having open access to information – we believe those are universal rights that are the birthright of every person on this planet.”

Unfortunately, she was talking to the wrong people. Not because her audience was not composed of those who could influence the behavior of the Chinese government (being mostly from the United States), but because the person who most needs to hear that message right now is her husband. Continue reading


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. Continue reading


Coalition Letter Opposing Giving Away Control of the Internet

Internet Coalition Ltr 032114Dear Chairmen and Ranking Members:

With last Friday’s late afternoon announcement that the Obama Administration plans to relinquish U.S. accountability measures over ICANN, the organization that administers the Internet, there are now serious concerns that the United Nations, or individual foreign governments, or some new multinational organization will obtain control of the Internet. No good can come of this. There is nothing wrong with the Internet that can be cured by handing over control of it to the likes of Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, or Hassan Rouhani.

We commend the House Energy and Commerce Committee for quickly announcing that it will hold hearings. We urge the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to do the same. It is important that the Internet continue to be a governed by principles that include free speech and press and the rule of law. If America leaves a vacuum on Internet governance questions, that vacuum will be filled by people like Putin who have zero commitment to free speech or press or to the rule of law. Continue reading


Don’t let Putin and Kim Jong Un take YOUR Internet! Sign the Petition!

FFinternetSign the Petition to keep the Internet in American hands and protected by the First Amendment.  We don’t need dictators governing the Internet!  Continue reading


Peter Roff on The Internet Giveaway

The World Wide Web and the Obama plan to give it away. It’s true. The last bastion of the ‘free’ free markets invented, owned and operated by the United States. This White House is poised to hand the keys over to the international community. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, manages the World Wide Web under contract with the U.S. government. As of the fall of next year, that contract will not be renewed. Instead, ICANN will become a global organization, with no U.S. oversight.

Continue reading


Handing Over the Keys to the Internet

Putin Russia Internet Big-Brother CensorshipIt’s nuts to cede control of the Internet to countries with poor records on free speech.

by Charles C. W. Cooke

If at least for the sake of variation, those charged with riffling through last Friday’s news dumps must have been relieved to find neither new Obamacare delays nor abandoned red lines hiding among the detritus. And yet, while the less technically proficient could have been forgiven for having missed it, an announcement just as vexing was waiting in lieu: that America was planning to give up control of the Internet.

At this point in the proceedings, one is customarily chastised by pedants who note impatiently that the United States does not really “control” much of the Internet at all — at least not literally. The Internet, our dogmatists record, is a wildly decentralized network of computers, servers, and services that are run by non-governmental agencies, individual citizens, and private businesses, and fleshed out by the enthusiasm and the creativity of civil society. They are right, of course. In its structure, the Web is a libertarian’s dream — an explosion of spontaneous order and of mutual cooperation that would have made Hayek blush. It don’t need no stinkin’ Man.

And yet, as with all good things, it does have some framework — a slim skeleton on which the meat and the gristle might be laid. As Forbes’s Emma Woollacott confirmed on Saturday, should the U.S. government go through with its plan, the responsibilities to be farmed out will include the administration of changes to the DNS’s authoritative root zone file — the database containing the lists of names and addresses of all top-level domains — as well as managing the unique identifiers registries for domain names, IP addresses, and protocol parameters. Continue reading


When U.S. Steps Back, Will Russia and China Control the Internet?

internet-censorshipSome fear foreign powers will fill the void.

by Brendan Sasso

The United States is planning to give up its last remaining authority over the technical management of the Internet.

The Commerce Department announced Friday that it will give the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), an international nonprofit group, control over the database of names and addresses that allows computers around the world to connect to each other.

Administration officials say U.S. authority over the Internet address system was always intended to be temporary and that ultimate power should rest with the “global Internet community.”

But some fear that the Obama administration is opening the door to an Internet takeover by Russia, China, or other countries that are eager to censor speech and limit the flow of ideas. Continue reading


Ex-White House tech chief: Internet giveaway ‘raises the stakes’ of Web governance

Internet1by Giuseppe Macri

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Friday decision to cede management of the Internet to the global Internet community ”raises the stakes” over the future of Internet regulation, according to a former chief White House tech policy advisor.

“The U.S. should continue to be resolute in its support for a free and open Internet,” former senior White House technology policy advisor Richard Russell told The Daily Caller. Russell also served as Senior Director for Technology and Telecommunications for the White House National Economic Council and U.S. Ambassador to the 2007 World Radiocommunications Conference during the George W. Bush administration.

“The Department of Commerce’s decision to transition away from its historical role as the keeper of the IANA [Internet Assigned Numbers Authority] contract raises the stakes when it comes to the future of Internet governance.” Continue reading


One way to respond to Putin: Don’t let him control the Internet

Obama Putinby George Landrith

Russian President Vladimir Putin has authorized, and his military forces have carried out, an armed invasion of a neighboring nation, Ukraine, whose sole transgression was wanting closer diplomatic and economic ties with the West. Despite wide condemnation of the unprovoked attack, Putin is unrepentant and China is now standing with Russia. As if the invasion wasn’t provocative enough, Putin also test-fired an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). These are dangerous times.

While the administration’s response has been muted, there has been no shortage of suggested ways the U.S. could signal its strong objection — recalling our ambassador, imposing sanctions, removing Russia from the G8 and reverting back to the G7, sending an naval carrier group to the region, reconstituting plans to build a missile defense capability in Eastern Europe, and maximizing our own energy production to weaken Russia’s economy and its hold on much of Eastern Europe. These ideas have merit, but some are longer-term plans. It is not clear how the administration will respond to this crisis. Continue reading


Global Internet governance proposals threaten sovereignty, freedom of information

Internet Governanceby Peter Roff

The evolution of the Internet has not only changed the world of commerce; it’s revolutionized the diplomatic sphere and helped democratize the foreign policy process.

Up until the end of the 20th century the United States relied heavily on human intelligence to learn the truth about what was happening inside countries that had closed themselves off to the rest of the world. The Internet’s penetration of even the most authoritarian of nations has created a window through which the U.S. and the other democratic nations that make up the first world can see for themselves what is going on.

It is through the Internet that America has been able to follow the story unfolding inside Iran, and it is the Internet through which the western powers were able to confirm that the Assad regime in Syria both had chemical weapons and had used them against opponents of the government. There was no need to wait for a group if inspectors working on behalf of a global body to confirm the allegations. With the web the world could see with its own eyes just what had occurred. Continue reading


Internet piracy sites are stealing copyrighted content and ad revenue

Intellectual Propery Piracyby George Landrith 

Internet piracy has become a big business. It has also become more sophisticated in the way it steals. Rather than selling the music and movies of others, often they provide it for free and use the increased internet traffic to obtain surprising advertising revenues. This allows the pirate to claim he isn’t selling anything. But he makes a handsome profit stealing the property of others — movies, music, books, etc. According to a recent study by the Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA), in 2013, these piracy sites reaped an estimated quarter billion — with a B — dollars in advertising revenue. Even small piracy sites can pull in over $100,000 a year in advertising revenue and it is almost all profit.

Some might think that this is great news — free music and movies for everyone! But the truth is this theft harms everyone. Everyone you ask? Yes! Everyone, except maybe the pirate. Here’s why. You and I go to work because we hope to receive a paycheck. If we learned that there would be no paycheck, we would not show up. If we learned that we would only be paid for every other hour we worked, we would likely only be willing to work every other hour.  Continue reading


A Victory for an Unfettered Internet

Internet Net NeutralityAfter another court loss, the FCC should abandon its ‘net neutrality’ regulation goal.

by Robert McDowell

A federal appeals court in Washington slapped the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday for overstepping its legal authority by trying to regulate Internet access. The FCC is now a two-time loser in court in its net-neutrality efforts. Has the government learned its lesson, or will the agency take a third stab at regulating the Internet? The answer to that question will affect the Internet’s growth in the 21st century.

The FCC’s quest to regulate the Internet began in 2010, when the commission first promulgated rules for net neutrality. The rules, proponents argue, are needed to police Internet “on-ramps” (Internet service providers) ostensibly to ensure that they stay “open.” To accomplish this, some want the FCC to subject the Internet to ancient communications laws designed for extinct phone and railroad monopolies.

But the trouble is, nothing needs fixing. The Internet has remained open and accessible without FCC micromanagement since it entered public life in the 1990s. Continue reading


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