The constitutionally protected first amendment rights within the internet realm officially died on October 1, 2016.
Let’s face it: browsing the web today is no longer the unbridled experience of free expression that it once was. If you are even a moderate consumer of alternative media, then this statement should come as no surprise.
To the well-trained eye, the internet has become an increasingly manipulated purveyor of censored information. The mainstream media no longer reports objective facts, but rather invents a preposterous narrative that universally serves to undermine the truth. State propaganda has permeated virtually every realm of cyberspace like an unstoppable cancer force that constantly mutates authenticity into deception, and things will only continue to get worse.
Independent journalists are finding their truth-seeking Youtube pages suddenly demonetized. Well-researched reports that shed light upon the government’s corruption, fraud and treasonous criminality are mysteriously removed. Anti-Trump sentiments are bolstered while patriotic websites are strategically demoted. The official, swamp-sanctioned Deep State version of reality is eerily accessible, while alternative viewpoints are preemptively labeled as fake news and conspiracy theory so quickly it negates our own powers of discernment.
This a serious problem, and make no mistake about it – these clandestine controllers of content are calculated, targeted and mercilessly swift. But has anyone stopped to wonder why all of this is happening, and what power was suddenly granted to enable the perpetual trampling upon our God-given liberties and constitutionally protected rights to free speech?
Well, the answer to this question can be found in a little-known “formality” that occurred on October 1, 2016 – when the US government officially handed over control of the internet address book to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Under Obama’s watch and with his full blessing, this fateful day would mark the moment that free speech came to die on the internet.
Prior to the transfer, ICANN already managed the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), but the U.S. Department of Commerce, through the U.S. National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA), had ultimate authority over any decisions that ICANN made. This meant that the U.S. government could overrule any resolution made by the latter. But now that those vestiges are managed by a “an independent organization whose members include myriad governments and corporations as well as individual Internet users,” our free and open internet has become the forgotten relic of a time gone by.
The handover was purportedly envisioned for the last 20 years, and supporters of it insisted that the transition would have virtually no impact on everyday users. In fact, the plan was widely hailed by Amazon, Google and Facebook. “ICANN is a technical organization and does not have the remit or ability to regulate content on the internet,” the group said prior to the transfer. “That is true under the current contract with the US government and will remain true without the contract with the US government.”
However, many critics were immediately sounding the alarm – including Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Although it was little understood how the mechanics of this “seamless” transition would actually work, the universal fear was the it would allow authoritarian foreign governments and collaborating elites to willfully censor information in the United States.
Phil Novack, a spokesman for Cruz, was best able to fully articulate the basis for everyone’s concern:
“If you control the authoritative root zone file, you can control what websites appear on the Internet. Can you directly make changes to content on a specific site? No. But can you determine who gets a site, the policies governing those sites, and which sites get to operate and which sites get shut down? Absolutely.
Whoever controls the so-called ‘address book’ controls who gets and keeps an address book entry. ICANN’s new bylaws will provide ICANN with the ability not only to coordinate the allocation and assignment of names in the root zone of the Domain Name System (DNS), but also to coordinate the development and implementation of policies concerning the registration of second-level domain names in generic top-level domains as a way to facilitate the openness, interoperability, resilience, security and/or stability of the DNS including generic top-level domain registrars and registries. In short, ICANN will have the ability to set the governing polices for the entire Internet ecosystem. Foreign governments and global corporations will have an increased voice within ICANN moving forward instead of only being able to set and enforce restrictive policies at the edge of the Internet.”
After a failed attempt to block it in Congress, four state attorney generals urgently filed a lawsuit to halt the changeover, stating it was an unlawful transfer of government property. But alas, the case was dismissed and the transition prevailed.
So if you ever again find yourself wondering how they’ve managed to shut down free speech on the internet – you now have your answer.
And perhaps in the not-too-distant future, as the gradual encroachment upon our basic liberties further devolves in a complete a Orweillian dystopia, we can one day regale this sad part of the story to our own grandchildren. Reflecting ruefully upon the freedoms lost that once were, the future may never even know of the precious gift that was delicately stripped from us, a single inch at a time and before our very eyes.