Foreign Policy: The United Nations and the Internet: It’s Complicated

Last week Foreign Policy ran my latest piece about the UN’s controversial relationship with the Internet.

On Aug. 2, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution urging the White House to stop an obscure U.N. agency from asserting greater control over the Internet. It is the “consistent and unequivocal policy of the United States,” the lawmakers affirmed, “to promote a global Internet free from government control and preserve and advance the successful multistakeholder model that governs the Internet today.”

President Barack Obama’s administration sometimes finds itself at odds with members of Congress who oppose nearly everything the United Nations does on principle. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently complained of “black helicopter” conspiracy theorists harming the national interest after they blocked U.S. ratification of the Law of the Sea treaty for the second time.

When it comes to the Internet, however, Congress, the White House, technology companies, and civil liberties groups are all on the same page: All agree that the United Nations — a body representing the interests of governments — should not be given control over a globally interconnected network that transcends the geography of nation-states. The Internet is too valuable to be managed by governments alone. Yet there is less agreement over how well the alternative “multistakeholder” model of Internet governance is working — or whether it is really serving all of us as well as it might.

Click here to read the rest.

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