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Should the UN have global internet control?

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Coleman opposed to any proposal to hand control of Internet governance over to the United Nations

July 29th, 2005 - Washington, D.C. - Senator Norm Coleman today submitted a statement into the Congressional Record denouncing a final report issued by the United Nations’ Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) suggesting that the U.N. assume global governance of the Internet. Since its inception and creation in the United States, the U.S. has assumed the historic role of overseeing the Internet’s growth and has overseen its development. The U.N. taskforce report suggests that in addition to terminating the U.S.’s leadership role, the authority and functions of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit organization overseen by the U.S. Department of Commerce, should be transferred as well. Senator Coleman strongly opposes these measures.

“My probe of the U.N. as Chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations revealed management that was at best, incompetent, and at worst corrupt,” said Coleman. “The first priority for the United Nations must be fundamental reform of its management and operations rather than any expansion of its authority and responsibilities. The Internet has flourished under U.S. supervision, oversight, and private sector involvement. This growth did not happen because of increased government involvement, but rather, from the opening on the Internet to commerce and private sector innovation. Subjecting the Internet and its security to the politicized control of the UN bureaucracy would be a giant and foolhardy step backwards.”

“Recently, I introduced UN reform legislation with the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations, Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN), known as the Coleman-Lugar UN Reform Bill, to help put an end to a culture of corruption that was exposed by the Oil for Food scandal, peacekeeping sexual abuse scandals, and other instances of organizational failures at U.N.,” Coleman said. “Putting the U.N. in charge of one of the world’s most important technological wonders and economic engines is out of the question. This proposal would leave the United States with no more say over the future of the Internet than Cuba or China—countries that have little or no commitment to the free flow of information.”

The WGIG taskforce report will be discussed at the next World Summit on the Information Society Tunisia in November.

“In light of this report, I also plan to consult with experts and stakeholders regarding Internet governance, and will assess whether legislation is needed as a remedy,” Coleman continued. “The U.S. is willing to work with other countries that have an interest in the management of their own country code domains but UN control is out of the question. We will continue a dialogue with the rest of the world on these issues as we go forward.”
Leroy Coleman, (202) 224-5641

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