Yep. The World Wide Web.
It seems the fact that nobody is running it (at least no government) makes certain countries a little nervous. China, Russia, Iran and a slew of other nations believe somebody ought to be in charge. How 'bout the United Nations? Sounds fair, doesn't it? That way everyone gets a piece of the action.
Although many of the U.N.'s 193-member states oppose the uncontrolled nature of the Net, it doesn't necessarily mean they'll try to change anything, does it? Just because its interconnected networks ignore national boundaries and makes it hard for governments to censor, probably doesn't matter, right?
And taxes? Who would want to tax the Internet? And, c'mon--you really think the idea to apply the U.N.'s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) long distance telephone rules to the Internet will fly?
Google isn't waiting to find out. They've launched a petition drive asking supporters to sign this statement: "A free and open world depends on a free and open Internet. Governments alone working behind closed doors should not direct its future. The billions of people around the globe who use the Internet should have a voice."
Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) have no desire for the U.N. to take control, either. Both led a successful effort to pass a resolution against Internet regulation. Even Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform fame is jumping on the bandwagon. He's warning anyone willing to listen: " China, Russia, and Brazil will stop at nothing in their efforts to clamp down on the Internet."
Could he be right? These nations have lobbied hard for more than a year trying to get the United Nations in on the act. Kinda makes you think...
But again, no need to fret--the U.S. State Department is on top of this thing. Their number one delegate to the Dubai Internet Conference, Terry Kramer, has made a pledge: "The U.S. won't let the ITU expand its authority to the Internet." Well, that sounded reassuring...until he added, "(But) we don't want to come across like we're preaching to others."
He'd better start preaching. He'd better start preaching his head off. Because as L. Gordon Crovity of the Wall Street Journal put it, "The top job for the U.S. delegation at the ITU Conference is to preach the virtues of the open Internet as forcefully as possible. Billions of online users are counting on America to make sure that their Internet is never handed over to authoritarian governments or the U.N."
You said it, brother!
But really--why should we worry? Just because they're taking TWO WEEKS to talk behind CLOSED DOORS, probably doesn't mean they're planning to change anything, right?
A wise man once said: "I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the heavens and say there is no God."
"...Stop doubting and believe." (John 20:27)
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