Tim Berners-Lee and Daniel Weitzner writes: Sen. Ted Cruz wants to engineer a United States takeover of a key Internet organization, ICANN, in the name of protecting freedom of expression.
Cruz’s proposal is one of the key sticking points in finalizing the government spending bill necessary to avert a government shutdown on Sept. 30.
But the misguided call for the United States to exert unilateral control over ICANN does nothing to advance free speech because ICANN, in fact, has no power whatsoever over individual speech online. ICANN — the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers — supervises domain names on the Internet. The actual flow of traffic, and therefore speech, is up to individual network and platform operators.
There is no international law or treaty that calls the Internet into existence or forces everyone to use the same standards and technology. Rather, it is a voluntary effort of people around the world. [Continue reading…]