The Edmond Sun

Opinion

March 24, 2014

San Jose Mercury News: U.S. must insist on Internet remaining free and open

SAN JOSE , Calif. — As we note the 25th anniversary of the birth of Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web, the integrity of the Internet is threatened as never before. China and Russia are launching cyberattacks at unprecedented levels, and the NSA’s hacking and spying are destroying trust in technology.

In that context, the Obama administration has announced it will give up U.S. control of the Internet to an international governing body. This has been in the works for more than a decade — but the president needs to be certain that the transition to a nonprofit will maintain a free and open system. That is not at all clear today.

Silicon Valley can’t keep driving the U.S. economy unless the guiding principles that shaped the Internet are the foundation of its next governing body.

If it were possible, we would urge Obama to hand control of the Internet back to “God.” But the bushy-bearded, sandal-clad tech genius who bore that nickname, the University of Southern California’s Jon Postel, died in 1998 after serving as unofficial governor of the Internet for decades.

Valley legend Vint Cerf said this of Postel’s legacy: “He was our rock. He was the foundation on which our every web search and email was built.”

Postel helped devise the protocols that underpinned the web and then served as the Internet’s primary administrator. His philosophy, now known as Postel’s law, was that any “implementation should be conservative in its sending behavior, and liberal in its receiving behavior.”

Postel died just as the current Internet administrator, the Los Angeles-based ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), was being formed. ICANN contracts with the Commerce Department to keep the system running.

Critics of releasing control now, including Republican Newt Gingrich, fear that foreign governments will swoop in and stifle its democratic principles. It’s a legitimate fear, given that in 2012, the World Conference on International Telecommunications considered handing control of Internet operations to the United Nations, a frightening thought.

Commerce Department officials have issued guiding principles for the next governing body that emphasize the importance of a stable, open Internet. They maintain they will not turn over control to a government-led organization of any form. That’s a relief.

An ICANN stakeholder meeting beginning Sunday in Singapore is supposed to clarify the transition. The Obama administration should insist on an international nonprofit with established Internet principles to assume leadership.

Unfortunately, the United States has lost some of its moral authority in this choice because its own spying outrages have been exposed. It’s one more reason the president needs to restore Internet integrity, starting with its own use of the system. And he should not hand anything over until we know who or what will be Postel’s heir.

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Opinion
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  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at www.edmondsun.com show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

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    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

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    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Technology that will stimulate journalism’s future is now here

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    July 23, 2014

  • New Orleans features its own “Running of the Bulls”

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    July 22, 2014

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Poll

The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
Undecided
     View Results