We’ve known this has been coming for a couple of years. Dissatisfied with control of the internet largely in the hands of western democracies — especially the United States — the dictators and religious fanatics of the world have begun the process to seize control of the internet where, I’m sure, you won’t be able to insult Islam, call Vladimir Putin a thug, or criticize the Chinese communists.
The United Nations General Assembly approved a resolution that would set up a “committee of experts” whose mission would be to stop “the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes.”
Since many countries make it a crime to criticize the government or insult Islam, the resolution does not bode well for internet freedom in the near future.
Human Rights Watch said the list of sponsors for the resolution is “a rogue’s gallery of some of the earth’s most repressive governments” and “gives countries legal cover for internet blackouts and censorship, while creating the potential for criminalizing free speech.”
Governments like China already censor and turn off the Internet during times of civil unrest while doling out ‘social credit score’ punishments for those who criticize the state.
The Communist country is also rolling out a plan to force its citizens to pass a facial recognition test to use the Internet. Criticized the authorities? No Internet for you.
There’s a lot at stake for the free world and the U.S.
As we previously highlighted, the United Nations global compact on migration expanded the definition of ‘hate speech’ to make it a crime to criticize mass immigration.
Under a second Trump administration the U.S. is almost certain to ignore any UN attempt to impose its hegemony over the Internet, but if the Democrats win in 2020 it could be a very different story.
The Obama administration eagerly gave away the power to control domain names by internationalizing ICANN — Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. What sorts of mischief do you think Democrats could stir up by kowtowing to Iran, China, or Russia?
The internet is no longer in its infancy. What it will look like in 10 years will largely be determined by what we do today. There are a lot of people who want to destroy the inherently free nature of information exchange because they don’t like what some people are writing or showing.
Perhaps the best efforts of dictators to control what their citizens see online will fail to stifle dissent. But is that a chance we really want to take?