0

JACK SIMPSON: Relinquishing Internet control not a sign of strength

Are Russia and China licking their chops at the prospect of the United States considering transfer of stewardship of the Internet to the international community? Is President Obama so anxious to boost his reputation and popularity by risking Internet freedom when the U.S. surrenders control?

Of course we don’t know, but former President Clinton opposes such a change and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich believes U.S. loss of control of the Internet is dangerous. All lovers of freedom wonder what major changes would occur and what new regulations would be imposed to the Internet under authoritarian governments. Can you imagine the Internet being defined by foreign dictators?

Some suggest the United States, in today’s world, needs to build strength not give it away. Many look to us to champion freedom. They expect us to lead and to resist any move that limits freedom. Will Congress see it this way?

We expect that elected officials will not allow freedom to diminish because freedom has been a bedrock of our society. The United Nations meddling with the Internet could spoil a good thing. Internet free exchanges tend to support Democracy.

Governments that subjugate citizens naturally would like to gain more control of the Internet because this gives opportunity for more control and a chance to limit access.

In considering giving up stewardship, we would hope our president would have his eye on freedom and continue to support it. He will need to return to the campaign trail to inform the American people of the advantages that will come if the United States gives Internet control to the global community. We recognize that not all United Nations members share American values, and we suspect many do not share our desire for a free and open Internet. So what are the advantages of this proposed change of stewardship?

Right now users feel like the Internet is a treasure accessible to all peoples to spread news, do research, conduct business and interact socially. Will it be the same when under foreign control?

Jack Simpson is a former educator, a veteran, an author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.