TANGLED WEBS: GOOGLE, MICROSOFT, FACEBOOK, THE INTERNET GIVEAWAY, AND THE WILD, WILD WEST OF INFORMATION
by Steven Neill, ©2016
In 1983, fifty companies controlled 90% of the American media; today it is just six multinational corporations. (7) They are Viacom, Comcast, Time-Warner, Disney, CBS, and News Corp, and these companies are working very hard to make sure that the news you hear is the news they and the government want you to hear. From the anti-Muslim video that “caused” the killing of four Americans at Benghazi, (8) to lying about the state of the economy before the 2008 meltdown, (9) to the massive push to promote Obamacare, (10) the mainstream media is relentless in pushing the government/corporatist agenda to its audience. This control is the dream of every tyrannical state in history and the US government has almost achieved it.
Only, they have, like the American Army in the World War II Battle of Arnhem, (11) pushed their power too far and too fast, causing the American people to no longer trust the mainstream media. In the spring of 2016, a major poll was conducted by the Media Insight Project, a partnership of The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the American Press Institute; they found that just 6% (12) of those polled have confidence in the mainstream media for news. The bias and outright lies have become so bad that even a 30-year insider like Sharyl Attkisson (13) commented on it: “There is unprecedented, I believe, influence on the media, not just the news, but the images you see everywhere. By well-orchestrated and financed campaign of special interests, political interests and corporations. I think all of that comes into play.”
“ICANN is arguably the single most powerful institution in the world” Jeff Baron (14)
In every format, the mainstream media is losing patrons. From failing newspapers to falling television ratings, the old model is dying because of the internet. The internet has become the primary source for information for a huge percentage of Americans today. In fact, in the last 25 years the internet has transformed the world. It has completely revamped the way people do business, communicate, purchase household goods, plan vacations, find friends, look up information and just about every human activity imaginable. Since it first became available for average Americans, the internet has been a way to find information the elites did not want exposed, and they have been looking to shut down that freedom of information for years. Subsequently, with the support of numerous multinational corporations including Microsoft, Google, Dell, Yahoo, Amazon, and Facebook along with the blessing from globalist mouthpieces like the Council on Foreign Relations, the LA Times, NBC, the International Chamber of Commerce and Human Rights Watch, President Obama failed to renew the contract with ICANN (15) effectively giving the control over the internet to a private company.
That company is ICANN (16) (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) and it is a California-based nonprofit corporation. In 1998, the Commerce Department began contracting with ICANN to take over management of IANA (The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) and the internet’s domain name system. The US Commerce Department has, for the most part, let ICANN govern itself, but it maintained the authority to pull the nonprofit’s contract. In essence ICANN records the numbers (easier for computers to use) using words (easier for humans to use) through DNS.
Those supporting the transfer are quick to report that there is nothing to fear from this transfer; after all, ICANN is a “private” company under a global multi-stakeholder group to oversee its Board of Directors. What can possibly go wrong with the internet in the hands of a “private” (18) company? Plenty. (19)
ICANN is, first and foremost, a complete monopoly. (20) It has exclusive rights to allow and renew (21) domain names and that is a power which has not always been used benevolently. It also has complete control over how much to charge for a top-level domain such as .com, .net, .biz, and several times in the past, it has abused (22) those powers. For instance, it allowed a top-level domain named .sucks to be purchased by the company Vox Populi, which charges $2,500 to protect a company’s or individual’s name from being purchased and slandered with a .sucks (23) after it, then failed to rein in the company when it was running an extortion operation. ICANN has also been accused numerous times of siding with those who have the most to pay its fees, and since it costs over a million dollars to have ICANN officially look into a complaint, not many decisions are overturned.
Another troubling aspect of ICANN is that ICANN has made a fortune off of its rapidly-expanding list of Generic Top Level Domain Names (gTLDs). Names such as .lawyer; .google; .africa are going for at least $200,000 each and then annual fees. The .web domain brought $135,000,000 (24) into their coffers, giving them not only a complete monopoly on issuing domains but also the means to create a very monopolistic self-supporting group of elites.
Amazon, (25) the giant online retailer, applied to register the gTLD .amazon. ICANN has written limitations that govern the sale of a domain name, but since the name .amazon does not fall into any of the categories that are forbidden, there should have no problems with Amazon’s request. Only there was: the South American countries of Brazil and Peru, through the interest group Government Advisory Committee (GAC), declared this application to be illegal, based on the fact that the Amazon River is a geographical area inhabited by some 30 million people. ICANN sided with the governments’ proving that the advantage of being a monopoly is that you get to make up rules as you go along. Amazon is now in the process of suing (26) ICANN over the matter.
The exact same thing happened to the sports company called Patagonia (27) when it filed for the .patagonia domain. The governments of Argentina and Chile objected, and ICANN decided against selling the name to the company. This trend shows that not only are rules made to be broken but governments meant to be appeased. This pattern is more than disturbing considering that since 1998, nations that routinely censor the internet of their citizens including Russia, China, Iran and Saudi Arabia have pushed extremely hard to place the functions of ICANN under the control of the U.N.’s Russian dominated International Telecommunications Union (ITU) (28) and President Obama may very well have just handed them their chance.
For, as stated above, ICANN holds a COMPLETE monopoly over the World Wide Web root zone, and complete monopolies in private hands are illegal in most of the world. When operating under contract with the Commerce Department, ICANN becomes a legal monopolist as it becomes an “instrumentality” of government.
Editor’s Note: Please watch for Part 2 of this series in the very near future.