The Christian Science Monitor has some UN news for us. Or maybe just un-news. When you read it, you’ll mutter to yourself, “where is Al Gore these days?” though he seems — so far — to be innocent of this. The UN thought it up entirely on its own.
Here’s the deal: the UN wants to control the Internet. Or is it that the UN wants to make it so that the US doesn’t control the Internet?
To whichever end it has in mind, the UNnecessary and UNable (but definitely for-profit) Corporation on First Avenue in New York City has brought into being yet one more advisory group, this one named The (heh) Working Group on Internet Governance —- known to friends and neighbors as WGIG. And WGIG has spawned what all UN groups eventually bring forth: a report. This one was duly christened “Junior” as in [Report of] the Working Group on Internet Governance. The authors, weary from the rigors of urban life in New York City, repaired to a place called Château de Bossey during the gestation period and eventually birthed The Report in June of 2005. Cuban cigars all around, please.
And what a bouncing baby of a Report this one is. After all, we’re dealing with a Working Group here — as opposed to, say, a Boffing Group, or a Corrupting Group, or even a Scandal-for-Scandal’s Sake Group. Thus, instead of corruption, or naughty behavior, or throwing people into the pool, we have instead an immaculate twenty-four page Report. Or at least that’s all we have so far. The night is young yet…
And who are we to complain if it took almost fifty people to produce this
make-work mindlessness brilliant proof of the necessity for the continued existence of the UN? That’s two plus people per page, so you can bet this is one darn fine piece of work. Just in case you need a job for your brother-in-law to contact one of these worthies, there follows a list of their names — that is if you can find their names in the midst of all the titles. They might take a tip from God, who, after all, usually limits his title to words of one or two syllables. Mention this if you call them, won’t you?
While you’re at it, remind them that the world-wide shortage on commas is over and they can start using them again to separate names from titles. For a moment there it looked like these people had last names like “Member” or “Director” or “Chief.” If they ask, suggest storing any extra commas in their clue bag since they don’t seem to be using that for its intended purpose.
Here you go (and no skipping. There will most certainly be a quiz on this material):
Membership and Secretariat of the Working Group on Internet Governance
Nitin Desai Special Adviser to the Secretary-General for the World Summit on the Information Society (Delhi/Mumbai)
Abdullah Al-Darrab Deputy Governor of Technical Affairs, Communications and Information Technology Commission of Saudi Arabia (Riyadh)
Carlos A. Afonso Director of Planning, Information Network for the Third Sector; Member, Brazil’s Internet Steering Committee; Member, Non-Commercial Users Constituency (Rio de Janeiro)
Peng Hwa Ang Dean, School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)
Karen Banks Networking and Advocacy Coordinator, Association for Progressive Communications; Director, GreenNet (London)
Faryel Beji President and CEO, Tunisian Internet Agency (Tunis)
Vittorio Bertola Chairman, ICANN At Large Advisory Committee; President and CTO, Dynamic Fun (Turin)
José Alexandre Bicalho Member, Brazilian Internet Steering Committee; Adviser to the Board of Directors of the National Telecommunications Agency (Brasilia)
Kangsik Cheon Chief Operating Officer, International Business Development, Netpia (Seoul)
Trevor Clarke Permanent Representative of Barbados to the United Nations Office at Geneva (Geneva) Avri Doria Research Consultant (Providence, Rhode Island)
William Drake President, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility; Senior Associate, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (Geneva)
Raúl Echeberría Executive Director/CEO, Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (Montevideo)
Dev Erriah Chairman, ICT Authority of Mauritius (Port Louis)
Baher Esmat Telecom Planning Manager, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of Egypt (Cairo)
Juan Fernandez Coordinator of the Commission of Electronic Commerce of Cuba (Havana)
Ayesha Hassan Senior Policy Manager for Electronic Business, IT and Telecommunications, International Chamber of Commerce (Paris)
David Hendon Director of Business Relations, United Kingdom Department of Trade and Industry (London)
Qiheng Hu Adviser to the Science and Technology Commission of the Ministry of Information Industry of China; Former Vice-President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Beijing)
Willy Jensen Director General, Norwegian Post and Telecom Authority (Oslo)
Wolfgang Kleinwächter Professor, International Communication Policy and Regulation, University of Aarhus (Aarhus)
Jovan Kurbalija Director, DiploFoundation, Geneva/La Valletta (Geneva)
Iosif Charles Legrand Senior Scientist, California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, California)
Donald MacLean Director, MacLean Consulting (Ottawa)
Allen Miller Executive Director, World Information Technology and Services Alliance (Arlington, Virginia)
Jacqueline A. Morris Consultant (Port of Spain)
Olivier Nana Nzépa Coordinator, Africa Civil Society (Yaoundé)
Alejandro Pisanty Director of Computing Academic Services, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico; Vice-Chairman of the Board of ICANN (Mexico City)
Khalilullah Qazi Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations Office at Geneva (Geneva) Rajashekar Ramaraj Managing Director, Sify Limited (Chennai (formerly Madras))
Masaaki Sakamaki Director, Computer Communications Division, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (Tokyo)
Joseph Sarr President, NTIC Commission, Dakar Regional Council (Dakar)
Peiman Seadat Counsellor, Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Office at Geneva (Geneva)
Charles Sha’ban Executive Director, Abu-Ghazaleh Intellectual Property (Amman)
Lyndall Shope-Mafole Chairperson, Presidential National Commission on Information Society and Development of South Africa (Pretoria)
Waudo Siganga Chairman, Computer Society of Kenya (Nairobi)
Juan Carlos Solines Moreno Executive Director, Gobierno Digital (Quito)
Mikhail Yakushev Director of legal support department, Ministry of Information Technology and Communications of the Russian Federation (Moscow)
Peter Zangl Deputy Director-General, Directorate General Information Society and Media, European Commission (Brussels)
Jean-Paul Zens First Counsellor, Director of the Media and Telecom Department, Ministry of State of Luxembourg (Luxembourg City)
Markus Kummer, Executive Coordinator Frank March, Senior Programme Adviser
Tarek Cheniti, Consultant Hind Eltayeb, Administrative Assistant Robert Shaw, part-time, seconded by ITU
Howard Williams, part-time, seconded by the University of Strathclyde
David Satola, World Bank (part-time in his personal capacity)
Chengetai Masango, Intern (April-July 2005)
Chango Mawaki, Fellow, in association with DiploFoundation (June 2005)
Seiiti Arata, Fellow, in association with DiploFoundation (June 2005)
Dhrupad Mathur, Fellow, in association with DiploFoundation (June 2005)
Quite a slog, huh? Who’s your favorite on the list? I’m mighty fond of ol’ Karen Banks myself. She runs some company with “Progressive Communications” in the title. With that name, you know her place is just chock-a-block with affirmative hires. Or maybe the fellow who runs the company called “Dynamic Fun.” REMEMBER: it took the UN this many people to sacrifice their time to trek to a chateau and write a crucial, important 24 page report. A report with very wide margins on each page. A report whose glossary and lists of names took up a third of its length.
Now I aleady know what you want to do with this report, but what do its authors intend? Well, it’s like this: they are desirous of replacing old fuddy-duddy ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the non-profit group currently under the aegis of the US Department of Commerce which governs technical aspects of the Internet; it’s the go-to guy for domain names, etc. In the interests of commerce and fostering the growth of the internet, ICANN doesn’t interfere much in the highways and byways of cyberspace. At the moment, they’re mulling over whether or not to designate .xxx for porn sites, but generally speaking they keep a low profile.
You can bet your bippy that will change if WGIG has any say in it because WGIG, in true UN form, wants to replace ICANN with… are you ready for this? …WICANN. No, that’s not a coven of witches. It’s the acronym for the proposed World Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. That’s right: global, transnational, inter-governmental agencies — pardon me, “stakeholders” — would be responsible for assigning domain names and for oversight of the internet. Instead of the US Department of Commerce, there would be a creature dubbed the “Global Internet Policy Council.”
There would be advisors and observers, aides and assistants, consultants and coordinators, the private sector and civil society operating “on an equal footing” —all to do what is already being done. In other words, there would be snafus, corruption, pedophilia and goldbrick operations served up with a global reach. Shudder.
All of this would happen so things would be “fair.” Well, of course. We can’t have the developed countries running IT when we could get Cuba or Luxembourg, those centers of cutting edge IT, doing things fairly and equitably and openly.
I wish I were making this up. Read it and weep. Then dry your tears and remember: we didn’t sign the Kyoto Protocol, we’re not part of the International Court. Repeat after me: there will be no stinkin’ WICANN, either. But buy your broom just in case we have to go up there and clean ’em out.