A GENACHOWSKI IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING

More on the subject of the announced intention of the Obama Department of Commerce to cede its control over ICANN (the organization that coordinates the Internet’s global domain-name system) to some yet-to-be-determined international group or organization:

As more critics of the move have stepped forward (e.g., L. Gordon Crovitz of the Wall Street Journal, and – of all people – former President Clinton), the Hard Left has figured out that it might not be able to blow this one by a technologically-ignorant public.  We now have one of the Left’s highest-level formulators of Newspeak, former FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, offering us an Ivy-League level head-fake in support of the ICANN-emancipation movement.  Mr. Genachowski is perhaps best known for being lead advocate for the wonderfully misleading term, “net neutrality,” defined by Wikipedia as “the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication.” This definition omits one of the key elements of potential non-“neutrality,” volume of usage, but, whatever.  The point is, this soothing, appealing, innocuous word, neutrality, masks the central objective of the net-neut crowd: to prevent providers from charging users for usage of the internet based upon market forces, like supply and demand, and to subsidize certain customers at the expense of others – in other words, net-neut is not at all neutral, it is classical lefty economics brought to the Internet.   

The crafty Mr. Genachowski, in “ ‘Global’ Internet Governance Invites Censorship”  (The Wall Street Journal, 4/4/14), takes the inventive approach of going bipartisan on us, criticizing the DOC’s contemplated action and appearing to jump on board with conservative critics (and Bill Clinton).  But it turns out he is not really opposed to the ceding of control in and of itself, he merely is in favor of doing it just a bit differently from the way in which the DOC has proposed.  He starts out innocently enough, but then he goes all Harvard on us with loads of planned-economy, micro-managing provisions and lots of dependency upon the disinterested wisdom and good faith of the people and nations charged with the responsibility for implementation of his little Rube Goldberg contraption.  Tellingly, he never gets around to making any kind of a case for just why the US should give up even an inch of whatever controls and powers the US currently has at its disposal via its existing arrangement with ICANN.   

The ceding may be a big deal (per the conservatives) or a small deal (per the White House), but it is definitely something, or why would so many big shots be struggling with it?  So, why is it necessary –  I mean, what’s in it for us?   The computer, and its star offspring, the Internet, could prove to be the single biggest game-changer in the history of man’s efforts to master his environment.  It all happened on our watch, not under UN or international supervision. Why should we even think about doing this at all – because we are afraid that people won’t like us anymore?  Because this would somehow immunize us from international censure, from the kind of treatment we receive at the UN?    

Mr. Genachowski gives due recognition to the need for some device for preserving the unrestricted flow of information and data over the Internet, and he suggests the US should not yield any internet authority to another government or group or body, but only to “an entity that is protected from governmental interference and includes both private sector and civil society organizations . . . ,“ blah, blah, blah.   Like such an entity could even exist.  Like China or Russia could be held to any such guidelines once the US were no longer in charge.  Like you could lawyer your way through the practical impact of giving up controls, by writing enough rules about how the bad guys are supposed to behave once those controls have been given up.  Like there is such a thing as international law, once a China or a Russia decides to violate it, as in Crimea.  Like John Kerry would make sure we do not get pushed around.

Sorry, Mr. G, we guess you mean well, but, well, no, you are not one of the guys.  You are  not on our side in this issue.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>