UN to Make Internet a Global 'Common Heritage'?
by William Norman Grigg
March 7, 2005
This November, the UN will convene a "World Summit on the Information
Society" in Tunis. In Tunisia, reported a February 21 Reuters dispatch,
"global control of the world wide web may be decided."
At present, "the most recognizable Internet governance body is a California-based
non-profit company, the International Corporation for Assigned Names and
Numbers (ICANN)," continued the report. "But developing countries
want an international body, such as the UN's International Telecommunications
Union (ITU), to have control over governance - from distributing Web site
domains to fighting spam." According to Nitin Desai, chairman of a
UN working group on the Internet created in December 2003, "There is
an issue that is out there that needs to be resolved."
The draft "Declaration of Principles" for the Tunis
Summit calls for the creation of "a people-centered, inclusive and
development-oriented Information Society . premised on the purposes and
principles of the Charter of the United Nations...." Under that vision,
the Internet - rather than being a market-oriented entity controlled by
no political body - would be used "to promote the development goals
of the Millennium Declaration," particularly "the right to development,
as enshrined in the Vienna Declaration...." That "right"
refers to the desire of the UN to redistribute wealth and technology from
the U.S. and other prosperous nations to the kleptocratic governments of
the "developing world."
Furthermore, the draft declaration pointedly invokes "Article
29 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," which states that
"everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full
development of their personality is possible, and that, in the exercise
of their rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations
as are determined by law.... These rights and freedoms may in no case be
exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations."
In plainer language, the UN seeks the power to suppress any use of the Internet
and other information technology to criticize the world body or impede its
designs for global governance.
The UN's proposed Law of the Sea Treaty would designate the
oceans a UN-administered "common heritage of mankind." In similar
fashion, the Tunis Summit would claim cyberspace as a UN-regulated "common
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