[Politech] Senator: Keep the United Nations away from the Internet [fs]

From: Declan McCullagh (declan@private)
Date: Wed Oct 19 2005 - 09:52:56 PDT

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Coleman fights proposal to hand control of Internet governance to the 
United Nations, citing threat to communication freedom and enterprise 
from dangers of censorship and political suppression

October 17th, 2005 - Washington, D.C.— - Senator Norm Coleman today 
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.

Tomorrow, October 18, 2005, 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.”

Andrea Wuebker, (651) 645-0323
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