October 19, 2005: Headlines: Figures: Congress: LinuxElectrons: Senator Norm Coleman says Internet Should Not Fall Into U.N. Control

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Senator Norm Coleman says Internet Should Not Fall Into U.N. Control

Senator Norm Coleman says Internet Should Not Fall Into U.N. Control

Senator Norm Coleman yesterday introduced a “Sense of the Senate Resolution” to protect the U.S.’s historic role in overseeing the operations of the Internet from an effort to transfer control over the unprecedented communications and informational medium to the U.N. Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota is the head of the Senate Subcommittee that oversees the Peace Corps.

Senator Norm Coleman says Internet Should Not Fall Into U.N. Control

Senator Says Internet Should Not Fall Into U.N. Control
Wednesday, October 19 2005 @ 11:43 AM CDT
Contributed by: Tommy

General NewsWashington, D.C. – Senator Norm Coleman yesterday introduced a “Sense of the Senate Resolution” to protect the U.S.’s historic role in overseeing the operations of the Internet from an effort to transfer control over the unprecedented communications and informational medium to the U.N. A final report issued by the United Nations’ Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) this past July recommended that the U.N. assume global governance of the Internet. Next month, a possible U.N. takeover of the Internet will be discussed at the UN-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society meeting in Tunisia.

“There is no rational justification for politicizing Internet governance within a U.N. framework,” said Coleman. “Nor is there a rational basis for the anti-U.S. resentment driving the proposal. Privatization, not politicization, is the Internet governance regime that must be fostered and protected. At the World Summit next month, the Internet is likely to face a grave threat. If we fail to respond appropriately, we risk the freedom and enterprise fostered by this informational marvel, and end up sacrificing access to information, privacy, and protection of intellectual property we have all depended on. This is not a risk I am prepared to take, which is why I initiated action to respond on a Senate level to this danger.”

Sen. Coleman’s Sense of the Senate Resolution supports the four governance principles articulated by the Bush Administration on June 30, 2005. These are:

* Preservation of the security and stability of the Internet domain name and addressing system (DNS);
* Recognition of the legitimate interest of governments in managing their own country code top-level domains;
* Support for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) as the appropriate technical manager of the Internet DNS;
* Participation in continuing dialogue on Internet governance in multiple existing fora, with continued support for market-based approaches toward, and private sector leadership of, its further evolution.

Coleman’s resolution also addresses the possibility that once Internet governance is transferred from the U.S. to the U.N. or some other managing body, the U.S. would have no more control over information than countries whose national policies block access to information, stifle political dissent, and maintain outmoded communications structures.

“Many aspects of running the Internet have profound implications for competition and trade, democratization, and free expression,” said Coleman. “We cannot stand idly by as some governments seek to make the Internet an instrument of censorship and political suppression. We must stand fast against all attempts to alter the Internet’s nature as a free and open global system.”

The resolution further calls upon the Administration to firmly oppose any proposal that would deviate from these core principles. Sen. Coleman also intends to seek hearings in advance of the Tunis Summit to fully explore the implications of multinational politicization of Internet Governance. Coleman previously highlighted the need to protect the Internet from the U.N. in a speech before the Senate on July 29, 2005.

Today Sen. Coleman will urge the adoption of extensive reforms that stemmed from his 19-month long Senate Investigations Subcommittee probe into the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing titled, Prospects for United Nations Reform. Coleman has been critical of the lack of progress on reform at the recent U.N. World Summit held in New York, saying members failed to address the critical components of U.N. reform that have been proposed following revelations of widespread abuses and scandals in U.N. activities ranging from humanitarian programs to peacekeeping. To help restore the U.N.’s credibility and efficacy, the Coleman-Lugar Bill includes several provisions to lead the U.N. towards greater transparency, accountability, and oversight.

“The Internet has flourished under United States supervision and oversight, and has evolved and grown under market-based principles and private sector leadership,” continued Coleman. “It is irresponsible to expand the U.N.’s portfolio before it undertakes sweeping, overdue reform. If the U.N. was unable to properly administer the Oil-for-Food Program, I am afraid what the Internet would look like under U.N. control.”

When this story was posted in October 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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