“Information wants to be free” was the mantra of the dot-com days, the days when Wired Magazine saw the Internet as the gateway to transcendence.
But now, the currently unfettered nature of the Internet is at stake. Through the creation of the Arpanet (precursor to the Internet) by the DoD, the U.S. has retained control of the Internet; today, its run by the Department of Commerce via ICAAN. This is now being challenged with the U.S. standing alone with no allies:
The European Union has backed an aggressive push by the United Nations to end US control of the internet and bring it under international law following concerns by countries like Iran that the Americans could pull the plug on them at any moment.
What is at stake are some of the key parts of globalization: the freedom of information and the blurring of borders. The Kantian Peace was never really about a Family of Democracies but unfettered trade links and now information is part of that link. The hope of globalization would be to increase these links, enhancing security and building a path to the fabled to the Kantian Peace.
Acquiescing control of the Internet to an international consortium would open the way for censorship by a U.N.-led consortium, which includes countries like China, Iran and Libya – hardly the light of liberty and freedom. Even member countries of the E.U. have their limitations on the freedom of speech.
Also at issue are types of business and applications that undermine the state monopoly on information – think the banning of VoIP and Skype to protect a government telco company.
If the U.S., E.U. and the U.N. fail to reach an agreement, we can see the beginning of the end of the Internet. The U.N. and go ahead and make its own ICANN giving way to an Internet that is fractured, no longer free and no longer global. Has the tower of Babel has befallen us again?