After a lot of trial and error, one of the few policy matters the Bill Clinton Administration got right in spite of itself in the early 1990s was a relatively sensible policy of keeping hands off the freedom of the Internet. Ira Magaziner, who was the same Clinton adviser who so badly botched the secret policy discussions on Hillary Clinton's health care contraption, also apparently learned something from those mistakes in time to finish the second Clinton term by avoiding big mistakes on Internet policy.
But now, according to today's edition of The Washington Post, the United States, which started building the Internet in 1969, might soon give up its last remaining influence over the system of domain names and other rules of the road for the World Wide Web.
Of all the policy blunders of the Obama Administration, this idiotic and mindless attempt to appease international critics of American influence over the web is one that will have long-term bad consequences and will only encourage dictatorships to seek more ways to censor and block internet access to citizens in closed societies. The only hope to derail this decision could be a coalition of both liberal and conservative groups that value internet privacy and freedom to bring massive pressure on Congress to stop this train. Dictators worldwide fear the Internet becuse it so easily can cross national boundaries and makes it more difficult for them to control the flow of informaton inside their own borders.
The United States has never been a perfect steward of Internet governance but the stewardship of the nonprofit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) values your freedom not at all and the so-called "international community" hates freedom on the web. It is crazy for the Obama Administration to turn over what internet governance authority the U.S. still retained after the ill-advised creation of ICANN to a lawless international community. The only bright spot could be to encourage the birth of a new robust Generation of broadband Internet infrastructures in the U.S. allied and inter-connected only with other free societies overseas.