The UN and Its Mini-Me

Our thanks to Cato for providing a link in the comments of this post to Senator Norm Coleman’s (R.,Mn) November 7th op-ed in The Wall Street Journal regarding this UN cabal meeting in Tunisia.

…We cannot allow Tunis to become a digital Munich.

There is no rational justification for politicizing Internet governance within a U.N. framework. The chairman of the WSIS Internet Governance Subcommittee himself recently affirmed that existing Internet governance arrangements “have worked effectively to make the Internet the highly robust, dynamic and geographically diverse medium it is today, with the private sector taking the lead in day-to-day operations, and with innovation and value creation at the edges.”

Nor is there a rational basis for the anti-U.S. resentment driving the proposal. The history of the U.S. government’s Internet involvement has been one of relinquishing control. Rooted in a Defense Department project of the 1960s, the Internet was transferred to civilian hands and then opened to commerce by the National Science Foundation in 1995. Three years later, the non-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers assumed governance responsibility under Department of Commerce oversight. Icann, with its international work force and active Governmental Advisory Committee, is scheduled to be fully privatized next year. Privatization, not politicization, is the right Internet governance regime.

We do not stand alone in our pursuit of that goal. The majority of European telecommunications companies have already dissented from the EU’s Geneva announcement, with one executive pronouncing it “a U-turn by the European Union that was as unexpected as it was disturbing.”

Senator Coleman has begun to counter this move by the anti-freedom bloc of nations. You can read his initiatives here and his website is here.

Read the whole essay. If you find any information re his initiative in the Senate, let us know. A brief look at his website didn’t have any obvious links.

(Don’t know about you, but it still gives me pleasure to think about Minnesota’s slow blushing turn to red)

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The European Union is continuing to press for a change of the guard. Despite the hurricanes caused by the howls of laughter from the technically competent, the EU — the UN’s mini-me — wants “control” of the internet removed from ICANN and the auspices of the United States’ Commerce Department.

     The EU has been promoting its proposal ahead of the formal start on Wednesday of the three-day United Nations technology summit in Tunisia, the preparations for which have spurred accusations that the Tunisian government has barred entry to activists trying to attend the event.

That’s right: the UN decided to hold this “Technology Summit” in one of the more backward members of our glorious UN. Besides being a third world hole, Tunisia is particularly well-known for its censorship and attacks on the media. So, of course, in the Alice’s Underground thinking that prevades the UN mental processes, such a country is the perfect spot to discuss who ought to be in control of cutting edge technology in internet services.

There are reports that Tunisia is already busy preventing any dissenting groups from appearing on the scene.

     On Sunday, a reporter with the French daily, Liberation, Christophe Boltanski, was stabbed and kicked — but not seriously hurt — outside his hotel in Tunis. Boltanski had been investigating the recent beating of human rights activists in the country.
Tunisian authorities on Monday downplayed Boltanski‘s stabbing, saying it could have happened in any world capital. “It is therefore inappropriate to blow up this incident beyond its real proportions,” the government said in a statement.

Why of course it’s “inappropriate to blow up this incident” — sure it is. He wasn’t killed now, was he? This is a warning, not a final notice.

Ah, the wonderful EU and its daddy, the UN. Monster begets monster and the sane people are laughing so hard they’ve caused twenty seven hurricanes this year…well, maybe not all twenty-seven. But this malarkey has to take credit for at least ten of them.

And this isn’t over yet. Even as the EU continues to sink further into third world conditions, its envy and rage will continue to nip at our heels. Think of all the productivity this kind of sniping destroys.

11 thoughts on “The UN and Its Mini-Me

  1. There is an Op-ed by Norm Coleman on the subject in the WSJ. You need to be a subscriber to read it there, but the text is posted here

    Wonder why China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Cuba and the gang are so interested in this initative? Probably to safeguard their peoples’ precious right of access to correct and beneficial information, untouched by decadent imperialist pollution.

  2. You’re just jealous because you didn’t think of them wanting the rest of us to be just like them, first!


    I got knews for those knuckleheads, if they were to get hold of the reins of the internet, they wouldn’t be in control of the virtual world. They’d just be led to believe it while the partee continued behind their back.

  3. Cato–

    Thanks for the link. I’ve updated the post with a snip from Coleman’s essay.

    I’m left wondering, though, if there is anything they — China, Iran, etc.,– can actually effect in term of breaking up the www?

    Your views?

  4. You know the UN and EU position is untenable when the CBC comes down against it. This moring on the CBC Radio 1, they aired a broadcast about the Tunisian meeting with most of the program dealing with censorship and the brutal treatment of reporters and dissidents in Tunisia. The thrust of the report was that everything is working well now with respect to the internet and any foreseeable alternatives are guaranteed to be worse, so leave the current structure alone.

  5. “The low point of that planning session was the European Union’s shameful endorsement of a plan favored by China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Cuba that would terminate the historic U.S. role in Internet government oversight”

    I wonder why those countries would want to terminate our role?

  6. Ok, I’m not the greatest expert on TCP/IP and all that good stuff.

    But, I understand there is no technical reason why the UN or somebody could not set up UN-ICANN that runs parallel to ICANN. If it attracts all the business away from ICANN the market has spoken.

    If done properly it could run on the same wires, routers and servers, they are just passing “1s and 0s” they don’t care what they represent.

    Not just the UN but every county who’s national pride demands their own internet could have one.

    Since this would fall into the category of international free trade the WTO could say it accomplished something.

    It could be billed as a potential solution to what to do when the 4 to the 256th power addresses run out. (I know there are better solutions in the works)

    Of course there are a few problems,

    – There is a tremendous capital investment by ISP’s and that to a certain extent will have to be duplicated. Taking over ICANN hijacks the capital investment

    – Hackers will figure out how to cross systems in side of 10 minutes.

    – It will not accomplish the real objective of censorship.

    But why not call the bluff and say we have no problems as long access to the ICANN is not blocked and we won’t block any one else’s.

  7. Dymphna –

    I don’t see how they can, really. The Internet is based on trust. Your ISP knows which routes it can reliably, use, they know which ones to use, etc. Theoretically, any router can already become a “rogue”, filtering addresses, or some such thing, on its own (the Chinese do this now internally). But they are attempting to force policies on the “core” routers that many people depend on. ICANN doesn’t own the “core” routers – it only owns the authority to certify things and set standards. Presumably that is what the UN wants. Well, compliance would still all be voluntary. These routers actually belong to big companies like GTE, QWest, WorldCom, etc and if they decide a policy is wrong or crazy, there’s a good chance they will tell them to go to hell. If that became impossible politically, there is another good chance that a competing set of large routers could be made available on the Net for public use. That might fragment the net, but it would still work.

    I could be wrong about this part, because I don’t really understand how the core routers are wired together or what it would take to add another one.

    However, I don’t believe, even under President Hillary, that the US will hand over “control” of the Internet to a UN body. It would be the dumbest thing ever (on the other hand…).

    You know ICANN has been very controversial since it first appeared only a few years ago. Before then all Internet standards were written by volunteer comittees (mostly academics). The ICANN was created by the US Gov to put it on a more “professional” basis. It has avoided any attempt to regulate content at the Internet, but is plenty unpopular because of its lack of consensus and transparency. What the Internet needs is more participation and competition in standards, not more “governance”.

    For the dirt on ICANN and any Internet issue check out the very libertarian folks at

  8. Dang – I wish “Blogger” had an edit function. For:

    Your ISP knows which routes it can reliably, use, they know which ones to use, etc.


    Your ISP knows which routers it can reliably, use, they (those routers) know which upstream routers to use, etc.

  9. I figure if they think they are entitled to criticize our treatment of Prisoners of the WOT, they could just as easily think they are entitled to rule the Internet.

    I also figure what they think is about as important as on opinion poll taken of a band of thieves and child molesters.
    Defund Kofi and Son!

  10. I changed my mind – after reading though some of the tons of goo-goo PC verbiage at the WSIS’s own website here

    This is exactly the kind of initiative a Demo president woudl sign off on. The Declaratipon of Priciples has got a lot of lovely talk about how the delegates “dedicate themselves” to building an information society which extends low or no-cost information resources to everyone on the planet. They’ve thrown so many goodies in the bag that Santa Claus would boggle.

    A very small excerpt, just for flavor (I recommend looking over the whole thing – it’s mind-bending):

    15. In the evolution of the Information Society, particular attention must be given to the special situation of indigenous peoples, as well as to the preservation of their heritage and their cultural legacy.

    16. We continue to pay special attention to the particular needs of people of developing countries, countries with economies in transition, Least Developed Countries, Small Island Developing States, Landlocked Developing Countries, Highly Indebted Poor Countries, countries and territories under occupation, countries recovering from conflict and countries and regions with special needs as well as to conditions that pose severe threats to development, such as natural disasters.

    17. We recognize that building an inclusive Information Society requires new forms of solidarity, partnership and cooperation among governments and other stakeholders, i.e. the private sector, civil society and international organizations. Realizing that the ambitious goal of this Declaration – bridging the digital divide and ensuring harmonious, fair and equitable development for all – will require strong commitment by all stakeholders, we call for digital solidarity, both at national and international levels

  11. The issue comes down to control over two major pieces of functionality: the Domain Name Service, and the top-level routing tables

    Lets start with DNS, which is basicly the “White Pages” of the internet. Somebody wants to connect to a machine “”. It queries the DNS server that handles “.com” and asks what is the numeric IP address of “”. It then uses that to contact “” and find out what the IP address of “” is, and once it gets the IP address of that, it can then contact “”

    Once your computer knows the IP address of a host, it can contact it. It sends out packets with a particular destination IP address. The packets wind up at your ISP’s router. If the address is not local, your ISP’s router will route the packets over the line to some backbone service. The routers of the backbone service will then figure out where to send it.

    Notice that all of this is distributed. You can have a multitude of top-level DNS servers, but as long as “” correctly registers its IP address with each, then everything is cool.

    What some countries want to do is to have the ability to dictate that everybody use THEIR DNS server, so that somebody wanting to get to “” will be routed to the State News server to receive the Fearless Leader’s Message of the Day

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