The Wall Street Journal just published a story by Karl Borden who is a professor of financial economics at the University of Nebraska who warns that if the US gives up its oversight control over ICANN and the United Nations winds up in that roll, expect that fees are going to be imposed on every domain registration to support not only ICANN but UN activities.
The professor cites “As far back as 2001, a U.N. report, “Financing the Global Sharing Economy,” proposed that the U.N. be given the authority to levy a tax on “speculative currency transactions” with a projected revenue stream north of $150 billion.”
“Should the U.N. get control of the Internet and the global commerce it carries, that figure will be chump change.”
“If history is any guide, the run-up to big dollars will be stunningly rapid. One need only reference the increases in U.S. federal revenues and expenditures after passage in 1913 of the 16th Amendment establishing the federal income tax. The top 1913 rate of 7% more than doubled by 1916 to 15%, then rocketed to 67% in 1917 and 77% in 1918. It always starts small.”
“Power follows the money, and bureaucratic appetites are voracious. Who will there be to stop the process, after all? Where is the elected legislative body that will answer to the world’s population that finally pays these “fees”?
“Among the many disingenuous justifications being touted for this colossal strategic mistake is that no “government control” will be imposed on the Internet. But democratic “government control” is exactly what will be needed, and it will be absent. Constitutional governments are the means by which citizens delegate the job of protecting their individual rights, and allow them to retain at least some ability to avoid tyranny. With constitutional government it becomes at least possible for citizens to say “No—No more!” No such checks are in place for a global bureaucracy that will have the power to reach into every pocket on earth.”
At the moment ICANN charges a fee of $.18 per domain for most TLD’s.
However the ICANN fee is one of things the US has oversight control of, including the awarding of the contract to operate the .com and .net registry which expires in 2018.
The professor’s argument and I think its a good one, is if the UN has control over ICANN that fee may not stay at $.18.
A less accountable, more politicized ICANN may place a “global development fee” on each domain name registration to fund project investments in select nations and an expanded fellowship programs of $1 which as the good professor points out could grow over time to $5 or $10 a domain or more.
A global Internet tax?