Surprise! America Does Not Own the Internet
While it may come as a shock to some of you — the fact is — America does not own the Internet.
There are rumors that the United States is about to turn over the Internet to the United Nations, which is interesting considering we don’t own it to begin with.
The only reason we’re even writing this is to call your attention to how sensationalism, in this world of social media and instant communications is the ticket to getting attention, which gets readers, which, of course,translates into money.
If you read some of the headlines, you’d think that the whole Internet is about to be turned over to a bunch of thug countries and, thus, the Internet will be horribly damaged and we’ll all be paying a heavy price if the United Nations takes over and puts the Internet into the hands of its thug nations.
It makes great news for bloggers and journalist who would love to have you believe that the USA has owned and controlled the Internet and now is about to hand over the Internet to the United Nations, who by its very nature, will hand the reins over to the repressive regimes we all love to hate.
But if you actually seek out the facts, you can see this whole thing is being blown out of proportions by sensationalistic bloggers and journalists who eschew the facts and write op-eds as factual news. For instance this from
Fiery comments like this one by Rachel Alexander at Townhall.com. She infers that the US is going to ‘relinquish’ its control over its (the Internet’s) underlying structure.
“Control will be turned over to a global panel, which will include totalitarian countries that do not value our First Amendment protection of free speech.”
This is a good example of how you can twist words to evoke fear and rile up readers. If you believe that article, it makes it sound like the days of free speech on the Internet are numbered, and the internet we all use every day is about to be changed for the worse.
But not so fast. Let’s get some facts. Here are some:
Contrary to popular belief, America doesn’t own the Internet. But it does, currently, oversee the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the nonprofit entity that controls the critically important Domain Naming System (DNS), which is responsible for coordinating the domain name hierarchy and IP addressing for the entire Internet.
This week it was announced that, by prior arrangement, ICANN will be cut loose on 1 October 2016 from its sole government steward, the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and become answerable to multiple stakeholders worldwide, including countries, businesses and technical bodies.
The terms of the transition were laid out in 2014, when NTIA announced that it was ready to make good on the U.S. government’s longstanding commitment to privatize the Domain Naming System…
The Internet is not controlled by any one government or entity. It is a network of networks. The U.S. Government’s role with respect to the Domain Name system is a technical one. Our work has been content neutral and policy and judgment free.
Free expression online exists and flourishes not because of U.S. Government oversight with respect to the Domain Name System, or because of any asserted special relationship that the U.S. has with ICANN. Instead, free expression is protected because of the open, decentralized nature of the Internet and the neutral manner in which the technical aspects of the Internet are managed.
We have made clear in our announcement of the transition that open, decentralized and non-governmental management of the Internet must continue.
Facts are seldom as exciting as hyperbole. The facts are as incendiary as someone telling us we’re going to lose our freedom of speech to some unseen thugs running countries who don’t value the freedoms that most of us share.
The facts are not as scintillating as reading that the USA is giving up the Internet to the United Nations, and all our freedoms are about to be abrogated by repressive regimes who are out to change the internet forever.
You always have to be wary of sensationalism – no matter where you find it. Seek out the facts first and balance them with what you’ve read, and then make an informed choice as to what to believe.
This not only pertains to politics, it pertains to everything. I receive a newsletter every day from a a self-anointed computer guru who, almost every day, writes and warns his readers that the sky is falling.
It’s a fact of life that getting attention, gets readers, and getting readers equals making money. But don’t believe everything you hear or read. It may take you a while to find the truth, but dig around a bit- it’s out there – all you have to do is find it.
The truth will set you free.