The Internet Is in Good Hands

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

While Secretary General Kofi Annan assured us that the United Nations has no intention of censoring the Internet [op-ed, Nov. 5], he also expressed concerns about the Net being used to "glorify Nazism or other hateful ideologies." Unfortunately, hate speech is subject to broad interpretation. I wonder how countries such as China, Cuba, Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Zimbabwe, all members of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, would rule on the subject.

Another concern is the historical desire of the United Nations to develop an international tax to fund its operations to free it from a reliance on the contributions of individual nations. The United Nations has proposed an international airline tax, but this would fail because the organization doesn't have taxing authority in individual countries.

But control of the Internet, assigning domains, etc. -- that's a different story. Call it a fee or a tax, if the United Nations had control of the Internet, it could deny service if it wasn't paid.

The United States has had an exemplary record of making the Internet available to friends and non-friends alike. It sees freedom of speech and open communications as the best hope of promoting freedom around the world. Only if the United States abuses its governance of the Internet should anyone consider a shift in control.

CROSBY BOYD

Sanibel, Fla.


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