UNCLOS model could be extended to cyberspace with devastating economic impact
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The same is likely to true of the Internet – an immeasurably important engine of American technological and commercial competitiveness and, increasingly, a key component of U.S. national security. Other countries have already demanded global Internet regulation. For example, in March 2005, China’s ambassador to the United Nations called for international management of the Internet. Seven months later, the UN hosted a conference at which many delegates insisted on an end to this country’s exclusive control over the assignment of web addresses and e-mail accounts, in favor of having such roles performed by one or more UN agencies.
The problems with such an arrangement are obvious. The Washington Post pointed out that any such agencies would inevitably be caught between free societies that want low barriers to Internet access, and countries such as China and Saudi Arabia, that insist on limiting access. The Post went on to observe: “These clashes of vision would probably make multilateral regulation inefficiently political.” As it happens, the same is true of LOST – and would certainly apply with devastating effect to the Internet if LOST becomes the template for multilateral management of the ether’s “international commons.”
UNCLOS could set a bad regulatory precedent for the commercial development of space. Subjecting private space exploration and development to a similar regulatory system would discourage private ventures just now getting underway.