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11.15.2005
  UN declares war on internet, If we can't control it, it no-one will
United Nations (UN) officials meet tomorrow in Tunisia to plot the takeover of the internet.

"Manipulating Internet content through an internationalized, tax-funded structure may be an attractive outcome for politicians seeking to suppress dissent and prop up financially ailing bureaucracies, but not for friends of economic and information freedom."

"There is now a serious, ominous effort to replace the efficient and adaptable non-profit entity guiding the Internet with a new UN-sponsored agency," said NTU Government Affairs Manager and Issue Brief author Kristina Rasmussen.

The article then goes on to describe the attack stances.

-- Censorship. Despite having made a declaration of support for freedom of speech, many WGIG (Working Group on Internet Governance) members come from nations that severely curtail this right; China, for example, has one of the most restrictive and sophisticated Internet control mechanisms in the world. Just as other UN bodies have been "co-opted" by non- democratic governments, "an 'International Internet Commission' chaired by China might not be far off."

-- Taxes. Since the Internet's infancy the UN has crafted detailed proposals to tax online traffic. Rasmussen calculates that one 1999 plan for a "bit tax," adjusted for today's number of Internet users, would raise 12 trillion dollars this year - roughly equal to America's Gross Domestic Product. Even less ambitious money-raising models such as the independent, Switzerland-based "Digital Solidarity Fund" could feasibly be transformed into future collectors of compulsory Internet taxes and fees.

-- Bureaucratic Corruption. Given recent oil-for-food scandals, UN-style Internet agencies would present the inherent risk of "giving ruling members of regimes in the developing world shiny new computers rather than furnishing the poor with Internet access."

Although the US State Department (and more recently federal lawmakers) are moving to oppose a UN Internet takeover, and ICANN officials are advocating privatization, the author contends that vigorous opposition to WGIG's plans from taxpayers around the world is vital.
 
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