Free American Exceptionalism Internet Control Essay Sample

The American exceptionalism theory refers the United States as a qualitatively different state from others. The theory is based on the American liberty, equality and the general well-being of its ordinary people. It was first observed between 1831 and 1840 by Alexis de Tocqueville. However the term American exceptionalism was initially used by the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in 1929. According to Stalin the industrial capacity, absence of rigid distinctions and adequate natural resources place America at a better position compared to other nations in the world. It is also rooted from the country’s unique constitutional values that encourage freedom, equality, capitalism and consent of governance.

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Since the end of World War II, when the U.S was declared as the world super power, its government has always worked towards proving its authority over other nations. And this has been the same even in the internet and e-commerce industry. Internet is a global communication network which uses the internet protocol suit to connect users all over the world. It was founded in the U.S in 1980s and since then the technology has been passed to other nations across the globe. On the other hand e-commerce involves buying and selling of products and services through internet use. The U.S exceptionalist move towards internet control therefore affects the e-commerce since the two goes hand-in-hand. These two technological advancement tools have significantly helped in spurring the economic growth in the global arena. There are some arguments regarding the American exceptionalism in the internet and e-commerce industry, where some agrees to the concept while others disagrees. This is a reflective paper on the American exceptionalism and it discusses why I think the U.S has continued to dominate the internet industry.

There are significant reasons that show the American exceptionalist policy on internet and e-commerce management and regulations. Having been the founders of internet and e-commerce, the American government has always maintained an upper hand on it management and regulations. Despite of the efficiency brought by internet and e-commerce, the U.S understands that other nations can use this technology to turn against them. It is for this reason that they have opted to remain significant on the issue.

The adoption of this new information technology increases work efficiency by providing effective communication channel. Additionally, it significantly boosts the output in both the public and privately owned entities. The United States took a lead by implementing internet governance as it helped in content culture and regulation, data surveillance and protection. However, such surveillance and data protection policy is instilled by the strong and effective intellectual property right protection. In order to encourage free and fair trade amongst nations, the United States government also introduces e-commerce which significantly improved the quality of trade and service delivery in both the public and private enterprises.

Since inception, the United States government has been on the fore front in the management, regulation and coordination of internet and e-commerce in the world. For instance the U.S department of commerce has been a member of the internet corporation for assigned names and numbers (ICANN). The department manages and regulates the domain name system (DNS) which is a key internet function that translates words into numbers enhancing effective networking. And as we know ICANN entirely manages the global internet functioning through its 13 root servers dominated by the U.S.

The ICANN was however created in 1988 by DOC and other groups if internet pioneers from the U.S. And having been the founder of the internet, ICANN has always operated under a close supervision of the U.S government. This has made the international community to consider ICANN as an arm of the U.S government. This is because they argue that the body only allows agendas which are in line to the U.S polices and interests.

Despite the continued urge by the international community, the 1988 internet agreement by the U.S DOC has always been opposed to any modifications or alterations on the DNS root zone files. This was also strengthened by the 2005 internet governance declaration which emphasized on retaining the U.S historical role of authorizing the DNS root zone files. According to the statement, the members argued that the retention was the only option for the maintenance of the effective and efficient operations of the DNS. The declaration of ownership to the root serves and the authority to supervise any changes has to date made the U.S government a key role in the internet and e-commerce governance.

In my opinion, there is an American exceptionalist move towards dominating the internet and e-commerce global functioning. This is shown by its national practices and values that tend to assume that they are universally valid to nations across the globe. Its internet and e-commerce control move forces conformity as it barely gives any option to other nations across the globe. The U.S control on the ICANN and the root servers has been vital due to security reasons.  The on-going security threats that are facing American people and the rest of the world may use internet to facilitate their operations if not closely monitored. The U.S government has the power to allow and shut down the root servers of other countries opposed to their interest. The shutting down of the root server blocks the entire networks, marketing and communication infrastructure in those nations.

The control was empowered by the U.S internet government policy in order to silence terrorist and other ill-fated bodies in the world. The American exceptionalist policy is however an obstacle to internet needs of other global users, with good intentions (Bender, 2006). This is mainly so to the rest of people who do not use the Latin alphabets throughout the world. The policy can further lead to major division in the global arena on internet and e-commerce practices. It is because of this reason that the united nation group on internet government is currently working towards establishing a transparent, democratic and multilateral coordination of private and civil societies in the internet and e-commerce governance. Since the American exceptionalism limits the industrial voice of the people in the developing nations, other nations have established some counter measures on the same. According to the members in the developing world, each government should have an upper hand and play an eminent role on its internet and e-commerce services.

Currently, there have been some major developments towards internet and e-commerce services in the Cuban and Chinese nations as they opt to control and regulate their operations internally. But still the U.S government has continued to be a major stumbling block. The U.S government however continues to assume and neglect the voices of many nations which want liberalization in the internet industry. According to them, internet control ensures stability and safety of internet data and intellectual property rights of the inventor. They also argue that internalization will slow down the technological advancement by creating complex bureaucratic procedures which hinders innovations. To them internet government is already decentralized and allows nations to exercise their independent internal policies without controlling DNS. They indicate that countries are free to choose the content of information accessed within their borders without having an influence to the root server. For countries and regions opposing contents like pornography they should regulate this by reinforcing their internal content policy measures and not through the DNS.  

There is however a belief that the U.S government can block internet access for the nations opposed to them despite the urgent need by its citizens. For example the historical rivalry between the U.S and Iran denies it the sovereignty it requires in the internet and e-commerce practices. Their domination to the internet root servers makes them superior to any other users across the globe. It also proves its eminent exceptionalism in the industry which consequently limits the international attitudes and needs.

The on-going security threats on American people however show the need of retaining their control on internet and e-commerce activities. The various terrorist attacks targeting the American races all over the world, may be facilitated by internet communications and money obtained from e-commerce if they are not closely regulated. And since protection is better than cure, it’s appropriate that the U.S retains control of the internet governance for its own safety. Internalization of such control can be used inappropriately by the groups and nations opposed to the American initiative and interests.


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