This morning's Dayton Daily News had an article by Gwynne Dyer in its editorial section, entitled "Net result of Web change could be bad". I decided to check into its claims, which, on their face seemed credible, based on what I already knew about what was brewing. The editorial describes the work of an impending World Summit on the Information Society, attended by representatives from 170 countries, and predicted an effort by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to wrest regulatory control of the Internet from the Internet Corporation on Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
It seems that the ITU, for decades the chief international body responsible for the regulation of electronic communications networks, woke up one day and found out that there's this thing called the Internet that it didn't control. ICANN, the current regulator, holds a mandate that evolved from a looser management of the Internet in the 90s lead by the Internet Assigned Names and Numbers (IANA), InterNIC (now primarily an Internet information clearinghouse), the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETC) and the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C).
The current head of the ITU is "Houlin Zhao... a former government official in China's Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, has been in his current job since 1999." See "The U.N. thinks about tomorrow's cyberspace"
. For an interesting comment on this impending effort, see "A battle for the soul of the Internet"
, an article by Elliot Noss, CEO of Tucows, an eclectic freeware/shareware repository on the Internet.
Perhaps one way to understand the implications of these events is to recall recent events in China's Internet management efforts. Two reports on that can be found here:
- Sept. 7, 2005: Google, AltaVista Resist Chinese Censorship
- Sept. 25, 2005: Google Bows to Chinese Censorship
For me, these events bear an eerie similarity to recent moves by some in the federal court system to wrest control of sex education information from parents of children in the public school system. The most eggregious salvo of recent memory is the case Fields vs. Palmdale
, which pits James Fields and other parents of children at Mesquite Elementary School (in the Palmdale, California, district), against Palmdale. The opinion of the Federal 9th Circuit in this case was given by Judge Stephen Reinhardt, who declared "there is no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexual matters to their children." This case has been all over the blogosphere and in conservative opion media.
The efforts of governments to control the flow of information -- who hears or sees what -- is key to understanding the ongoing evolution of what the elder Bush called "The New World Order." I have no desire to claim the existence of a vast conspiracy here. A conscpiracy implies direction from a small group of individuals. There is no evidence of any direction here, no evidence of any prior thought whatever. What we are seeing is a confluence of the disparate efforts of control freaks. We can best understand this as a constant temptation of members of governing tribes who are not getting their way. It will take consistant and persistant countervailing efforts by freedom loving people everywhere to make sure that these control freaks never gain the ascendancy.
If necessary, we may have to withdraw our support and involvement from any and all collective efforts that have gone south. This strategy would include defeating any and all public school levies in districts that have been corrupted by promiscuous ideologies and walling off segments of the Internet that are dominated by nations that attempt to corrupt it for their own purposes.