ICANN – Authoritarian Internet Grab

The Authoritarian Internet Power Grab


Hudson Institute
By Robert M. McDowell, Senior Fellow
and Gordon M. Goldstein, Managing Director, Silver Lake Partners


The future of the internet could be at stake at a conference this week (October 25 – November 3) in Tunisia, where diplomats from more than 100 countries will debate United Nations jurisdiction over the web. What emerges from the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly will affect geopolitics and global economic growth, and possibly internet freedom for billions of users. 

U.N. members will address cyber crime, privacy and the potential regulation of internet companies, applications and content. Most important, diplomats will discuss the emerging Internet of Things, which will soon connect tens of billions of devices and people to the global network.

A new navigational and addressing technology, Digital Object Architecture (DOA), could enable the real-time surveillance and tracking of each device and individual connected to the web. Some governments are advocating that DOA be the singular and mandatory addressing system for the Internet of Things. They also want this system to be centrally controlled by the U.N.’s International Telecommunication Union, which has contractual rights to the underlying intellectual property.

At the meeting in Tunisia, China is working to join the leadership of the global study group on DOA and the Internet of Things, which the U.N. projects will generate $6 trillion in global economic value by 2025.

Digital Object Architecture tracking tools could be integrated into industries ranging from aviation to pharmaceuticals.‎Such a system could also help governments mandate charges for any online financial transaction, such as through bank ATM’s, credit-card payments, electronic money transfers or mobile banking. Such transaction taxes could upend the pace of investment and innovation in the internet space and distort global commerce.

The brewing conflict comes at a difficult moment. On Oct. 1, the Obama administration relinquished its legal oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann), which manages the Domain Name System. The fight over Icann’s future ended a decades long bipartisan consensus on how to protect an open internet. U.S. policy makers should put the Icann fight behind them and work together to think strategically about the emerging geopolitics of the internet and restore both ‎unity and resolve to a fragmented American tech policy.

At risk is the internet’s technical architecture and regulatory structure, which scores of nations seek to bring under foreign government and multilateral control.

These latest developments are part of a broader shift in the relationship between government and the internet. Countries like Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia are all pursuing a grand strategy to use international organizations, particularly the U.N., to control the digital future. The Tunisia conference is the latest in a series of efforts to expand the International Telecommunication Union’s mandate beyond its historical function of telecommunications coordination.

Today’s global fight over internet freedom started more than a decade ago. In 2003, China, Russia and other countries initiated a persistent and patient campaign to bring Icann under the control of the United Nations. In 2012 the U.S. led a coalition of 55 countries that refused to sign a global treaty negotiated in Dubai that would have expanded the U.N.’s reach and power to shape how key aspects of the internet operate.

While the U.S. and some of its internet allies rejected the Dubai power grab, 89 other countries voted for more U.N. influence, including an enlarged role in “international Internet governance and for ensuring the stability, security and continuity of the existing Internet and its future development.” That particular resolution was rammed through at 1:30 a.m. on the penultimate night of the conference—forcing the U.S. delegation, of which we were both members—to contest the conference’s legitimacy and boycott its result.

In 2015 a coalition comprised of China and 134 other countries submitted a manifesto to another U.N. meeting insisting that national governments—rather than NGOs, civil society, consumers or business innovators—should dictate the digital future. The bloc declared that “overall authority for Internet-related public policy issues is the sovereign right of States.”

In April Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the leaders of China and India issued a joint communiqué proclaiming “the need to internationalize Internet governance” and enhance the role of the U.N. Momentum, energy and numbers are on their side. As is bureaucratic power: A Chinese government diplomat is today the secretary-general of the U.N.’s International Telecommunication Union.

The first iteration of the privatized internet was conceived and controlled by the nongovernmental global technical community, civil society and the private economy, which unleashed the greatest wave of innovation in world history. The internet of the future, in contrast, may be shaped by foreign governments and the U.N. if countries like Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and China achieve their strategic objective.

America must quickly move beyond the divisive argument about Icann and regain its internet-policy footing. Many more consequential battles over internet freedom loom—conflicts that will shape the digital future.

It is time for the U.S. to unify again behind a bipartisan vision and common strategy to safeguard internet freedom for tomorrow.


Robert Malcolm McDowell served as a commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission from June 1, 2006 to May 17, 2013. He has tried since 2010 to wake everyone up to the facts of what was about to take place but no one listened.

Efforts in congress were shot down by Obama who squelched every effort to stop the transference.

Tunisia to Host World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly

 -All emphasis is mine –


Where was mainstream media?  Where were the congressmen who SHOULD have been filling the seats of their respective groups? WHY did no one listen to Cruz and the few others who were shouting about this months ago?  Or listening to Robert McDowell in the past three years?  Congress was too interested in reelection efforts.  Media was covering up the issue by ranting on about trivial things like who said what about whom over ten years ago.  NOW everyone will have to suffer for the deliberate effort Obama achieved to hand over our internet rights to the UNITED NATIONS and a plethora of authoritarian types like IRAN.  

Obama and the Democrats sold us all down the river on this.  Not only are tech savvy people seeing just how dangerous this is, but NOW we should all be more frantic to think that every business, every person, every account can and will be trackable. Consider how urgent it became when each company including a main hub were cyber attacked.  They can listen in or squelch ANY thing at ANY time.  Expect more of the same.

More importantly now Iran and China as well as other players have been handed a NWO Internet so that even our highly classified items are affected. To top that off, it will only be a matter of time before a TAX will be considered since that is one of the issues under discussion at this meeting. 



About Uriel

Retired educator and constitutionalist
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11 Responses to ICANN – Authoritarian Internet Grab

  1. Popular Front says:

    Total frogshit and will never and can never happen. Monitor every single phone line in the world? Yeah, right. It’s just another excuse for a marathon UN gabfest, accompanied as usual with mountains of smoked salmon and megalitres of champagne.
    Think about the logistics of it all and you’ll realise just how unworkable the idea is. All it takes is one server and one phone line and you’re in business. Every nation on Earth is going to allow outside supervision of its telephony? Believe that and I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you, cheap.

    • Uriel says:

      Nice rant Popular. Except we already have evidence of censorship happening now China and other places including the US have Google and other providers deciding what is or is not allowed. Granted common decency and sense requires some reasonable control. But Hillary is a prime example of what can be searched or suppressed. And think of the most recent “cyber attacks” on the Northeastern Main Hub here that shut down all service for hours on and off.

  2. I.R. Wayright says:

    They couldn’t make a cash cow out of “Global Warming” A.K.A. “Climate Change” so they see this as another opportunity to cash in.
    Can’t have all these little peons clogging up the lines. We must make if financially impossible for the masses to have access.

    • Uriel says:

      Makes sense. ” Why you little twerps are clogging up the airwaves so with your noxious music and childish chatter. We need it for more important things like communicating our demands to countries far and wide. And you have the audacity to mention freedoms WE think you to be subversive and radical. Can’t have you stirring up the masses now.”

  3. Hardnox says:

    I agree. This is a means to ultimately create a revenue stream for the UN.

  4. myfoxmystere says:

    This is not good. I’m very well aware of FCC regulations, as I’ve been in radio for almost 20 years. I watch my language while blogging to keep myself in check and stay away from words that could land me in trouble if I were to utter them live on radio. I figure it’s good practice not to write words that would not pass if uttered on air, just to be safe. If a media company were to look at my blogs, if they were to see me using profanities in writing, it could turn out to be bad for me, even if I were to say I’d restrain myself while on the job.

    • Uriel says:

      I am sure you do. In fact I have already had personal evidence of online censorship of my own words. I watched as an “unknown” actually deleted my words innocent as they were. So YES this is very bad.

  5. myfoxmystere says:

    Blogger removed several of my blog sites because I exposed 2 liberal trolls publicly. They said I harassed them and called it hate speech. My deleted blogs are Liberalmann Is A Dingbat, Irl Eats Coq, Misadventures Of A Liberal Troll and Irl Hudnutt’s Pigpen. A troll who goes by This One, Lester, LesterLib, Lester Liberalmann, Liberalmann and a bunch of stolen identities from other bloggers and Facebook complained to Google when I exposed him publicly. The blogs got noticed by conservatives who fell victim to his trolling, and he wanted to shut me down. After Google shut them down, I started a new one, only to get shut down after 1 post. But, I started another 2, carefully of course. And I also started a blog on Hillary Clinton called Hillary Clinton Watch (http://hildebeestwatch.blogspot.com). I had to use hildebeest to create it, since Hillary Clinton Watch was taken. If you do image searches for Pookie Toot Toot, some of my images from Liberalmann Is A Dingbat still show up. I’m sure “Lester” will try to troll here in the future, but his IP address from Syracuse New York will be a dead giveaway.

    • I.R. Wayright says:

      Did you hear Hillary go off on a demonstrator hollering Bill Clinton is a rapist?
      She said, “If you know anyone who is going to vote for Trump, you might want to stage an intervention.”
      My immediate thought was;
      Well, if you know anybody that is going to vote for Hillary, you might want to stage a lobotomy on them.