DALLAS – Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI) president Tom Giovanetti said companion legislation introduced today by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Congressman Sean Duffy (R-Wisc.) preventing the U.S. government from relinquishing its internet governance role is a vital to keeping the internet free and open to people around the world.
“The Obama administration must recognize threats amid the increasing international pressure to have a United Nations-type organization take control of internet governance, which would fundamentally change ICANN into an international governmental regulatory agency subjected to political mischief from repressive regimes,” said Giovanetti of the Protecting Internet Freedom Act.
“We express deep concerns that, while it is true that relinquishing control of the remaining root functions of the internet to a multistakeholder organization imagined by the Obama administration would not mean those functions were subject to political or U.N. control, it is probably inevitable that such an organization would eventually succumb to pressure, and then be subject to political mischief because they are part of the UN system,” he said.
Independent multistakeholder organizations set up to do technical functions of interest to the global community have a habit of getting absorbed into the U.N. system, said Giovanetti, citing examples such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) itself.
“So, while what is currently planned and underway is not transferring control of the internet to the UN, there is every reason to believe that will be the eventual result. And there is every reason to be very, very concerned about that result,” said Giovanetti.
The Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI) is an independent, nonprofit public policy organization based in Dallas. Experts are available for interview by contacting Erin Humiston at (972) 874-5139, or erin@IPI.org.