Given what I am doing, I am barely off line these days (except when I sleep, and even then my dreams are sometimes wired), so I have been feeling on “en vacance” this weekend in the Santa Ynez Valley, only able to get online in spare moments when I can slip off to the WiFi at the Roasted Bean in beautiful downtown Santa Ynez (two blocks).
But.. cooled down or not… steam came out of my ears this morning when I read (via Glenn) The World Wide Web (of Bureaucrats) in the WSJ. My only quarrel with this excellent and important (to all of us, especially) oped, which opposes proposed United Nations control of the Internet, is that it is understated. “Bureaucrats”? How about “Criminals” – because that is just what many of them are! Can you imagine the conglomeration of vicious corrupt slime who gave us Oil-for-Food governing the Internet? We might as well turn in our laptops. It would be over. I couldn’t agree more with the oped’s conclusion:
We favor the nonregulatory approach. But where laissez-faire is not an option, the second-best solution is that the legal standards governing Web content should be those of the “country of origin.” Ideally, governments should assert authority only over citizens physically within its geographic borders. This would protect sovereignty and the principle of “consent of the governed” online. It would also give companies and consumers a “release valve” or escape mechanism to avoid jurisdictions that stifle online commerce or expression.
The Internet helps overcome artificial restrictions on trade and communications formerly imposed by oppressive or meddlesome governments. Allowing these governments to reassert control through a U.N. backdoor would be a disaster.
I have never considered myself a libertarian. But I will say this – the strongest argument I could almost imagine for libertarianism is the idea of the UN taking over the Internet.
Meanwhile, for those of you who believe in a free Internet, have a look at our latest PJ Profile Jeremy Lyon. And then scroll down for Aussie Dave. (apologies to both bloggers for not linking them earlier – as I said, I’ve been away)