Debate over WH plan to give up Internet oversight

Impact of measure on global politics


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," March 31, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Even Bubba says it's a big boo-boo, Bill Clinton concerned that the White House surrendering our lead on the web will just created UR-Hell.

His worry is this. The only company in the world with a First Amendment surrenders over seeing a World Wide Web dominated by countries what don't give a lick about freedom of speech.

And Web security expert Morgan Wright says that can only lead to wrong.

So, Morgan, your fear is we relinquish this role. Then what?

MORGAN WRIGHT, CEO, CROWD SOURCED INVESTIGATIONS: Well, look, Neil, the Internet was created by the United States, by DARPA.

And the reason it was created is, in case of nuclear attack, we could continue to survive and operate. Fast-forward. Look at the things we're facing now. The last thing we want to do with what Russia is doing in Crimea and bordering on the Ukraine, taking large swathes of the Arctic Circle, China and Japan, the last thing we want to do is cede control of something so critical to the creation of trillions of dollars of wealth over the last 20 years, and that's the Internet.

CAVUTO: You know what I don't understand -- and maybe you can help me with this, Morgan -- what was the logic behind this move? I have heard others say we had, at best, a passive leadership hands-off role anyway. We're just trying to make this ubiquitous. It's a World Wide Web, after all. It's not a U.S. Wide Web.

What do you make of that?

WRIGHT: It's bad logic.

I mean, you're -- you're -- you're saying politics and logic have something in common. They absolutely don't.


WRIGHT: This is political, and I try not to do political stuff, Neil, but, remember, this is brought you by the same people who created the movie, if you like your health care, you can keep your health care.

So, I have a very cynical view when I start seeing countries like China, who we know has been a threat to the United States, Russia, North Korea, other places, anybody who has the chance to control not only the flow of information, but the standards that control the flow of information.


CAVUTO: Well, the argument they're...

WRIGHT: Once you start changing that...

CAVUTO: The argument for this -- for this is that they could have controlled it in their respective countries or not. In the case of China, that's proven to the be case, in Syria, what have you, so that they could and would have done any of that anyway, and this doesn't really move the needle on that.

You say what?

WRIGHT: They control it -- they maybe control it at the country level. But what you're talking now is China being able to project its views onto a region or into a hemisphere to say, this type of information can't move.

Can you imagine? Would they allow information about Tiananmen Square to flow into South Korea and to other places, other parts of Asia?

CAVUTO: Good point. Very good point.

So, we have to look at, this is a slippery slope. And once you start allowing this, then you start allowing people to determine what the standards are. And the minute you start doing that, Neil, you fundamentally change how information moves. And the reason this works right now is because it is in the United States.

We do believe in the First Amendment, and we have created a culture of standards, of interoperability, to make sure that a Mac can talk to a P.C. and talk to a UNIX machine. When you start doing this, we don't know where it's going to go.

And that's the big danger is, you can hear it -- take all the assurances you want, but we have seen how, when governments get involved in commerce, we know what the damages have been, and health care should be a perfect example of when the government gets involved in electronic and private commerce.

CAVUTO: Man, you know how sad it is when we give up our leadership role, whether in space, and now...


CAVUTO: ... we're hitching rides with the Russians, or the World Wide Web we practically invented, and now we are ceding control of that.

Morgan, thank you very much.

WRIGHT: You bet, Neil.

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