FCC commissioner warns of UN control over the Internet


The Internet currently operates under a "multi-stakeholder" model with most power resting in the private sector. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), for example, is an internationally focused nonprofit that manages the Web's address system.

In his op-ed, McDowell called the Internet the "greatest deregulatory success story of all time."

But he said the Internet's freedom makes dictatorial regimes uneasy and that many countries are prepared to give international regulatory bodies unprecedented control over the Internet.

According to McDowell, the U.N. is considering implementing international controls over cybersecurity and data privacy, allowing foreign government-owned Internet providers to charge extra for international traffic and imposing pricing controls.

"A top-down, centralized, international regulatory overlay is antithetical to the architecture of the Net, which is a global network of networks without borders," McDowell wrote. "No government, let alone an intergovernmental body, can make engineering and economic decisions in lightning-fast Internet time."