Los Angeles Times, column by Michael Hiltzik:
Technologies too complex to be easily understood by the layperson can be playgrounds for unscrupulous politicians. That’s become the case with the Internet’s internal digital plumbing, which has come into the crosshairs of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Donald Trump.
Cruz and Trump, along with a passel of other Republicans on Capitol Hill, have decided to throw a conniption fit over a routine, if complicated, transition in the technical governance of the Internet scheduled to take place Saturday — if a last-ditch maneuver in the House of Representatives doesn’t block it.
The goal of true Internet freedom, the online community recognizes, is served by governments having “a say but not a veto or control,” says Chris Calabrese of the Washington-based Center for Democracy and Technology. That means decoupling ICANN from the U.S. government.
What would happen if the transition is blocked? Internet advocates fear that control would end up in the hands of a United Nations agency, which would leave governments in a dominant role and could subject decisions to more political interference, not less.