“U.S. Keeps its Control of Internet” was a typical headline when stories appeared about the end of the U.N.’s World Summit on the Information Society. A UPI story put it this way: “The United States kept control of the Internet at an international meeting about how cyberspace should be run.” But such stories and headlines were extremely misleading. It wasn’t emphasized that the conference agreed to put U.N. boss Kofi Annan in charge of an “Internet Governance Forum” to decide the future of the World Wide Web.
You had to read to the end of the stories and understand the fine print. For instance, the UPI story noted that the “deal” left the current regime in place but established “two sets of multilateral talks, one focused on oversight and public policy issues, the other on problems like spam, security issues and viruses?” That’s U.N. doublespeak designed to conceal what will be going on behind the scenes.
Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) declared the final conference document to be a “world wide win that assures the World Wide Web will continue to operate freely and effectively.”
The Senator waged a good fight. But the Senator, as well as the lead State Department official on this matter, David Gross, do not seem to fully understand how the U.N. works overtime to accomplish its objectives.
The Law of the Sea Treaty is a case in point. It is now pending before the U.S. Senate and has the backing of the Bush Administration. Many officials have convinced themselves that the treaty, the culmination of four decades of behind-the-scenes lobbying by world government advocates, was flawed in the beginning but was somehow fixed and is now acceptable. A serious analysis shows that it creates an international taxation mechanism for the U.N. and gives the world body unprecedented control over the world’s resources. Despite these dangerous provisions, U.S. officials have come to embrace it. They have been convinced by the propaganda that the treaty doesn’t harm U.S. interests.
We will likely see the same process with the Internet. This is just the beginning of an effort that will take years, if not decades, for the U.N. to assume control. The temporary U.S. “victory” at the recent conference was just that?temporary. Eventually the U.N. will wear us down. At least that is their plan.
Very few journalists actually read the documents that come out of these conferences. The main document that came out of the Internet conference can be found here.
In order to understand this 20-page document, you have to be well-versed in U.N.-speak. You will see a reference to a “Digital Solidarity Fund.” This is the U.N. vehicle that is planned to be the receptacle for taxes on the Internet or emails that will benefit U.N. agencies or developing countries. It is now just “voluntary.”
The most important initiative, however, is Annan’s “Internet Governance Forum.” This will be where ultimate U.N. control of the Internet will be planned and implemented.