In view of today's uproar about the US government co-opting private phone companies for intelligence-gathering, it's time for another look at the howls of outrage that greeted the UN World Summit of the Information Society in Tunisia last year and the associated concerns about a UN regulatory role in the Internet. Consider for instance this widely linked op-ed in the Washington Post by Arch Puddington of Freedom House:
... an American nonprofit: the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) ... While ICANN functions on a charter from the Commerce Department, the U.S. government has followed a strict hands-off policy; ICANN's actions are transparent and decisions are made only after extensive consultation with Internet companies, governments, techies and freedom-of-expression organizations. ICANN has contributed to the unique nature of the Internet as a creative and innovative means of communication that links people and ideas across national boundaries -- for the most part outside the control of government.
Can anyone now believe that the NSA has thought about warrantless snooping on phone calls but has not thought about warrantless web/e-mail snooping as well?
UPDATE 23 MAY: Wired.com explains how AT&T is alleged to have been doing it.