US Congressmen are up to their old tricks of pretending to care about free expression publicly, while undermining it’s practice with their policy decisions — especially when it comes to free speech on the Internet. Congressman Edward Markey, the Chairman of the Congressional Sub-committee on Telecommunications and the Internet sent a letter urging the US Government to refuse to relinquish unilateral oversight of ICANN, the US Commerce Department created organization set up to manage the Internet’s root server.
Although the reason given by the politicians for needing the US to dominate Internet policy is to protect freedom of expression on the Internet, it is worth noting that ICANN and the US Congress have consistently refused to respect freedom of expression principles in its Internet policy-making choices. (Remember the new ICANN plan to prohibit top-level domain names that are offensive, immoral, disorderly, and desired by ‘established institutions’?)
The Internet Governance Project Blog discusses in more detail the irony of using freedom of expression arguments in order to continue to engage in censorship at ICANN. The IGP post is worth a read to anyone who cares about freedom of expression on the Internet.