The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry said recently that it might be time to put the brakes permanently on a plan to surrender management of the Internet to a global collective that might not value freedom of expression and commerce.
"The Internet has changed the course of history in ways few could have imagined over a decade ago," Glenn Hamer, chamber president and CEO, said.
“What was once an obscure project deep in government bureaucracy has become so ingrained into daily life that imaging a future without the advances made possible through the Internet is unfathomable,” Hamer said.
When the U.S. Department of Commerce took over management of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in 1998, the Internet was free of government censorship. However, if foreign states hostile to U.S. values start driving decisions at ICANN, freedoms may start to erode.
In response to a previous iteration of President Obama’s proposal to move control of ICANN to global, nongovernmental Internet stakeholders next summer, the chamber fears that nondemocratic regimes such as North Korea, Iran and Russia could potentially vote together to block sites on the global Internet.
The U.S. might also risk a spike in domain-name “squatting,” in which entities attempt to co-opt a recognized brand’s Internet identity, and even new economic regulations that would discourage investment and innovation in this arena.
“Thankfully, the administration is backing off its original fast-track implementation plan, but the idea remains a bad one,” Hamer said.
The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry advances Arizona's competitive position in the global economy by advocating free-market policies that stimulate economic growth and prosperity for all Arizonans, representing the interests of commerce and industry to enhance the state's economy, serving as a collective voice for Arizona businesses in the state Legislature.