Bill Clinton: If the U.S. gives up Internet oversight, Internet freedom will suffer

Image Credit: Clinton Global Initiative University
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Obama’s plan to relinquish control of the Internet will enable foreign governments to crack down and limit Internet freedom, according to former U.S. president Bill Clinton.

Clinton joins a lengthy list of critics of the U.S. decision to give up oversight of ICANN, the non-profit organization responsible for managing Web domains and IP standards, Re/code reports. Speaking at Arizona State University, Clinton and Wikipedia cofounder Jimmy Wales voice their doubts that such a change would be beneficial.

Bluntly, Clinton claimed that introducing a system of global oversight will empower “governments that want to gag people and restrict access to the Internet.”

“I understand in theory why we would like to have a multi-stakeholder process. I favor that. I just know that a lot of these so-called multi-stakeholders are really governments that want to gag people and restrict access to the Internet.”

Clinton asked Wales on stage if he is concerned that this decision will negatively impact Internet freedom. “Yes, I’m very worried about it,” Wales said.

Both Clinton and Wales (controversially) claim the National Security Agency revelations should not affect judgement of the U.S.’s ability to oversee the Internet. The U.S. “has kept the Internet free,” Clinton said.