The Global Commission on Internet Governance (GCIG), a 29-member private group chaired by former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt, issued its new report on the upcoming transition of Internet control following a closed, two-day meeting in Ottowa, Canada, on November 26.
Following its off-the-record meeting, the organization issued a communiqué stating, “The Global Commission on Internet Governance (GCIG) supports the transition of the United States National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) stewardship role for the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions to the global multi-stakeholder community.”
According to the GCIG communiqué, “The Commission endorses the NTIA conditions which are: Support and enhance the multi-stakeholder model; Maintain the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet Domain Name System; Meet the needs and expectations of the global customers and partners of the IANA services; [and] Maintain the openness of the Internet.”
The Global Commission further explained its position on the upcoming transfer of Internet authority in a 14-page paper entitled, “Legal Mechanisms for Governing the Transition of Key Domain Name Functions to the Global Multi-stakeholder Community.”
The Register, a British newspaper, criticized the GCIG report for being “bland,” “painfully out of date,” “far behind current discussions,” and “mildly embarrassing.”
Nevertheless, the commission’s report will undoubtedly serve to push the process of “internationalizing” control over the Internet further in the direction of a UN-controlled model.
As we reported earlier this year, the high-powered GCIG was appointed by the Royal Institute of International Affairs, the British globalist group more commonly known as Chatham House (see here and here). The commission membership includes such establishment one-worlders and prominent members of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) as Nobel Prize-winning economist Michael Spence, author of The Next Convergence; and Professor Joseph Nye, former dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and current North American chairman of the Trilateral Commission. Former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff is also a GCIG member.
In March, the Obama administration announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce, which has contracted the California-based non-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to administer the core functions of the Internet since 2000, would relinquish the oversight role in September 2015.
Numerous entities and “stakeholders” are proposing various successors to ICANN, some suggesting that the United Nations or the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) be entrusted with the job of administering the Internet. The GCIG paper claims that it does not endorse a UN/ITU-based model to replace ICANN.
“There is a significant debate,” says the GCIG report, “about what structure should take its place — with one extreme arguing for a new international organization created by civil society, and the other extreme arguing for centralized state control under the auspices of the United Nations International Telecommunication Union. This paper does not engage in that debate.”
“Rather,” it says, “it seeks to advance a credible solution based on real-world facts, existing legal rules and prevailing political realities.”
The “credible solution” it seeks, however, is most realistically seen as an effort to placate, primarily, an American audience that includes many — across the entire political spectrum — who oppose transfer of authority to any UN-aligned structure. The “multistakeholder” approach favored by GCIC and its allies is a temporary, transitional path that they know will be politically achievable and less likely to rouse opposition, or, as the commission paper puts it, one that recognizes “prevailing political realities.”
“In addition to the necessary conditions imposed on the transition proposal,” notes the paper, “any proposed structure must also carry domestic political support within the United States.”
Thus the GCIC’s populist appeal in naming its new website www.ourinternet.org and its repetitious sops to “transparency” and “accountability.”
But how accountable and transparent will the product promoted by GCIG be when the promoters and the process they use is neither accountable nor transparent? Although private organizations should have the right to carry out their business in private, the GCIC’s secret confabs involve public funding and are conducted by current and former public officials. Moreover, they concern matters that are very important to the general public — both national and global. As the Chatham House/GCIG’s own website acknowledges, its financial sponsors include the governments of Canada, Sweden, and the Netherlands, as well as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a 34-member intergovernmental organization that emerged from the Marshall Plan in Europe. Angel Gurria, the current OECD secretary general, is a commission member. Andrew Wyckoff, the director of the OECD’s Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry, is a member of GCIG’s Research Advisory Network. Since the U.S. taxpayers pick up a quarter of the OECD’s budget, they have a right to demand that the U.S. Congress — which continues to vote funds for the OECD — hold the OECD and the Global Commission on Internet Governance accountable for genuine transparency. If these global “public servants” are truly engaged in activities that are honorable, they should have no need to meet in secrecy when planning policies that affect the lives of all who dwell on this planet.