Last week, Obama’s Department of Commerce dropped a bombshell on the country: The US would be giving up control of the internet domain-naming system that it had retained for years.
The control of domain-naming will be ceded to an international organization, according to the announcement. This drew a firestorm of criticism from many who argued that giving control to an ambiguous international organization could be dangerous for free speech.
One unlikely critic was Bill Clinton, who argued against Obama’s decision at a recent Clinton Global Initiative event at Arizona State University.
The Washington Examiner reports:
“Whatever you think our country has done wrong, the United States has been by far the country most committed to keeping the Internet free and open and uninterrupted,” Clinton said at Arizona State University.
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The former president expressed concern over the United States’ recent announcement that the Internet domain system, currently controlled an agency of the Department of Commerce, will soon be ceded to an international agency that will be assembled after negotiations.
Added Clinton, “We’ve kept the Internet free and open, and that’s a great tribute to the United States.”
Wales, who said denying access to the information of the Internet was akin to a human rights violation, said he frequently tries to explain to citizens overseas why American control of the system was not a bad thing.
“There is the First Amendment in the U.S., and a culture of free expression,” he said.
Believe it or not, Bill Clinton is absolutely right about this. He correctly points out that because of the First Amendment, the US has a history and culture of free speech unlike any other country. The more control over the internet we cede to unnamed international groups, the greater the chance we’ll find ourselves with less ability to protect free speech on the Internet.
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