It was reported yesterday that the United States will give up its last Internet-related monopoly, a contract allowing control of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) (see the announcement at the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration). I hear some people praising the decision as a step toward a more open Internet, and others are unhappy that US communications will be more vulnerable to foreign spying and blockades. In British Israelist terms, which despite its aberrations is often a useful lens through which to observe international power relations, control of the Internet is like "possessing the gate of one's enemies" (Gen 22:17).
My view is that letting control of the IANA pass to "the global multistakeholder community" is a good thing, but not for the simple reason that it lessens US control. It is good in the same way that it was good for Europe and South America to have been targeted aggressively for NSA spying: because who told Europe and South America not look after their own security and simply entrust it to someone else? That was the height of indolent complacency! I don't mean to suggest that being vulnerable to spying is other than terrible. But having one's vulnerabilities (and the shiftlessness of one's leaders) revealed is desirable if it increases the pressure on us to change our ways.
Countries, companies, and above all people like me should be aware of the risks inherent in the tools we use. Collectively, we should never be far removed from evaluating our situation and improving our tools and workflow. We cannot do that if we are complacent because "our guys" have a monopoly.