Over the past few years, hundreds of thousands of writers, musicians, and artists have discovered a goldmine of new contacts and sales online. From iTunes to ebooks, as barrier after barrier for Internet commerce and social networking has continued to fall, many have found a following. Some have even moved on to fame and fortune, and better yet, the free flow of ideas and artistic creations has never been higher.
Now all of this is under threat. But the culprit isn’t some cabal of big book or music publishers; nor even an Internet giant like Amazon, Apple, or Google. As chronicled by L. Gordon Crovitz in an article entitled “The U.N.’s Internet Power Grab” in this past weekend’s Wall Street Journal, an obscure United Nations agency created more than half a century ago is now angling behind closed doors for far greater power to control and regulate the Internet.
Suffice it to say that if management of the Internet is effectively ceded to multi-national government control (i.e. the likes of China, Russian, and Iran), get ready for a choking dose of censorship and manipulation of information. Not in the beginning, perhaps. Only within certain nation’s borders. But who’s to say where it ends? For whatever convenient reason, someone in Beijing, Brussels, or Tehran may just decide to try to pull the plug on what you have to say.
But, you may argue, this type of censorship is happening already. Indeed it is. As reported on CNN, a recent Google report documents a 718% increase in information suppression requests, many from Western governments. But anyway you slice it, handing over control of the Internet to the United Nations is a bad idea. And worse, our own State Department appears to be fumbling the ball, holding forth in “negotiations” with diplomats from many of the aforementioned countries behind a veil of secrecy. Where are the demands for more transparency? Where are the all the writers, musicians, and artists on an issue that could have lasting implications for all of our futures?