Thursday, June 21, 2012

Will the Internet Always Be Run By Unelected Technocrats?

Oremus, Will. "Will the Internet Always Be Run By Unelected Technocrats?" Slate, June 20, 2012.

From the article: "Xenophobes and technocrats have found something they can agree on: The United Nations shouldn’t be in charge of the Internet… So if the United States doesn’t control the Internet in the future, who will? Calls to keep the Internet free sound good, but they tend to overlook the fact that the Web is already not entirely anarchic. Between bodies such as ICANN, IETF, and the WC3, it’s more of a laissez-faire technocracy.

That system has worked gloriously so far, helping the Internet grow in ways no bureaucrat could have imagined, let alone planned. But as appealing as it may be to you and me and Vincent Cerf, it is not a system of government that has proven particularly tenable through the ages. Countries tend to be either authoritarian and repressive or democratic and populist. As the Internet becomes increasingly central to people’s lives around the world, state governments will not be content to entrust its governance to a bunch of benign wonks. This round may go to the engineers, but the political struggle has just begun." Read more