Putting the United Nations in charge of the Internet is the best idea ever

Summary:When I'm stumped by geopolitical challenges and I ask myself "What organization can really get the job done?" my answer is always "The United Nations."

When I heard that the UN is trying to take over administration of the Internet, I could barely contain my joy.

What a fantastic idea.

Vinton Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet, has written a New York Times op-ed opposing UN involvement in the internet. This guy must not know very much about the Internet. I mean, there are a hundred good reasons why the UN is the best possible body to supervise the Internet.

Let's look at just the top five, shall we?

Putting the United Nations in charge of the Internet is the best idea ever
1. The UN represents the best democratic, pro-free-speech traditions

Many member nations are in favor of UN control of the internet. Two of the most enthusiastic supporters of the plan are China and Russia.

The great thing about putting China and Russia in charge of the Internet is that it's a virtual guarantee that the free-speech traditions of the Internet will be respected. The citizens of China and Russia have come to know their governments as staunch protectors of free expression, so it's only logical to let them regulate the Internet everywhere.

2. We really need more bodies regulating the Internet

Right now, the governance of the Internet is based upon a "multi-stakeholder" model, with seven non-governmental organizations, such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), having the most responsibility for top-level decisions.

Let's face it, seven organizations -- non-governmental, no less -- just won't do.

We need at least 30, and the apparatus of the UN is poised to provide those 23 additional layers of bureaucracy almost overnight. Nobody can create committees and commissions with the speed of the UN. The UN can also ensure that, under the auspices of the UN's International Telecommunication Union (ITU), each of these 30 organizations can do nothing more than issue resolutions subject to veto by China and Russia.

3. The UN is a highly effective, efficient organization

When I'm stumped by geopolitical challenges and I ask myself "What organization can really get the job done?" my answer is always "The United Nations."

The UN is a take-charge, no-nonsense, cut-through-the-red-tape body that accomplishes its goals as quickly as possible and for the least possible amount of money.

Why, just recently, there was a bloody government crackdown on unrest in Syria. The UN swung into action and tried to issue a resolution. If only that resolution had been passed, Syria would have listened carefully and respectfully.

Unfortunately, the resolution was vetoed by China and Russia.

4. There should never be anything important that governments don't control

The real problem with the current structure of Internet governance is that there are no governments involved, not even the government of North Korea.

As we all know, it's not possible to accomplish anything without multilateral government intervention. Without the UN's helping hand, how could humankind have invented Dropbox, Chia Pets, or the wheel?

Without ongoing UN involvement, how will China be able to veto the creation of .tibet domains?

5. The Internet will work so much better with the UN controlling it

My Internet connection has been slow these past few weeks. I'm confident that the UN can fix the problem.

My friends in IT tell me that, thanks to the latest Russian technology, it is now possible to achieve speeds of more than 300 baud over regular telephone lines using innovative devices known as "acoustic couplers."

This hardware is so efficient it can transfer data at speeds such that you can entirely fill an 8-inch floppy disc in a matter of hours. If only the UN had been put in charge of the internet 20 years ago, we could be at 1,200 baud today.

Topics: Browser

About

Steven Shaw used to be a litigation attorney at Cravath, Swaine &gMoore, a New York law firm, and is now the online community managergfor eGullet.org and the Director of New Media Studies at thegInternational Culinary Center.

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