Douwe Osinga's Blog: Time to side with the Republicans

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Ah those Americans are at it again. The UN debates on the future of how the Internet is run; currently this is done by an American organization in strict American capitalist fashion. The Third World feels cut out - Icann doesn't pay enough attention to their concerns. And what does the American government? It preempts the whole thing by simply declaring that the Americans will keep running the Internet. Another example of Bush going it alone? Not so fast Louis.

These supressed Third World Countries, who are they exactly? Well, there's the Africans and other poor who'd like the UN to cough up more money to bridge the digital divide. Sounds good? Throwing more money at the digital divide is not going to help much as long ast these countries use their local telecom monopolies as easy cash generators and job providers for government cronies - nowhere is making a call as expensive in Africa and still we wonder why the call centers move to India and not to Nigeria. Or they put high taxes on the import of cell phones, often for the poor the only way to reach the information society; or they outlaw the import of second hand cellphones just as they meet with a cell phone manufacturer from South Korea.

Or take China and Iran, who would like to have a seat at the table. We all agree that the Internet is a great medium for communication, but there are limits, aren't there? And these limits are different in different cultures, so it is only logical that China and Iran should help the UN define what is and what is not acceptable on the Internet. It just like the UN Human Rights Commission with members like China, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Saudi Arabia, famous protectors of human rights.

Theoretically I'm all for having the UN doing the global things. But in this case, I'd rather have the Americans do the honours and keep the Internet at least kind of open.