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Will United Nations Regulate the Internet?

17 December 2010 by admin

Julian_AssangeAs if WikiLeaks hadn’t already caused enough problems, the cyber-squealing website could result in bureaucratic control over the Internet, something that would be bad for everyone, especially online gamblers.

In the wake of WikiLeaks publishing classified cables jeopardizing national security and diplomatic relations for a number of countries – though the United States was the main target – some are using the controversy as evidence that the Internet needs to be controlled. Word in diplomatic circles is now that the United Nations is considering setting up an inter-governmental agency to regulate the Internet.

On Wednesday, representatives met at the UN’s New York headquarters to discuss the possibility of forming an agency to regulate the Internet, in part to specifically address security threats like WikiLeaks. The call to have the UN police the Internet was lead by Brazil, with India, South Africa, China and Saudi Arabia also favoring the plan. That’s not exactly a Who’s Who of Economic Freedom.*

United-NationsThe fact that some of the countries with the most controlling and tightly regulated governments support the idea of the UN policing the Internet shouldn’t come as a surprise. Delegates from the United States, UK, Belgium and Canada, along with representatives from the business community, argued against the idea, saying forming the bureaucracy would be risky.

When the latest WikiLeaks controversy started, some speculated that it was all a big conspiracy. While much of the public said that governments need to do something to make sure WikiLeaks can’t continue to harm national security, others said that provoking such a response was precisely the point. They theorized that groups wanting control of the Internet were using WikiLeaks to create a panic so that governments can step in and take charge. While that may sound crazy to some, the idea is given some credibility when you consider the connections between WikiLeaks and George Soros, the billionaire world player who, in his own words, is trying to create a New World Order.

Whether or not the calls to regulate the Internet were the plan all along, it important that people keep a level head. Yes, WikiLeaks is dangerous, but not as dangerous as giving the United Nations the power to police the Internet. The Internet has thrived because of its lack of regulation and oversight. It has become a bastion of free information because no one controls it. To give anyone the power to control the content of the Internet, regardless of the benevolence of the reasons behind it, is dangerous.

Policing the Internet can be used to stamp out free speech, dissent and more. Of course, it can also be used to do away with Internet gambling, shut down online casinos or go after those who engage in the activity. For better or worse, it is difficult for authorities to track online activity. Because people are able to use the Internet with relative anonymity, it allows websites such as WikiLeaks to exist, but it also allows people to gamble online, organize protests, share information about government and politics and more. WikiLeaks is a problem that needs to be dealt with, but not at the expense of freedom, whether we’re talking about online gambling, political discussions or anything else.

*If you want to quantify the lack of freedom in the countries that support UN control of the Internet, look at the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom. In a ranking of 179 nations, it ranks Brazil, India, South Africa, China and Saudi Arabia 113th, 124th, 72nd, 140th and 65th-freest in the world, respectively. In comparison, the United States and Australia, who both oppose the idea, rank 8th and 3rd, respectively.

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