Business Technology: U.N. Snatches Internet; Tomorrow All IT?
In a phony-but-it-could-be-real memo, a confidential operative for The Private Sector warns CIOs and CEOs that the United Nations' recent posturing to take over the Internet is only a tiny hint at its larger intent: to seize control of all IT systems, networks, software, and processes in the world!
(It's not real, but it could be!)
TO: CIOs and CEOs of the World FROM: Deep Smoke (A Confidential Fixer) RE: The United Nations' Appropriation Plan for Global IT Hegemony
Pursuant to our agreement, herewith find my latest report on the United Nations' top-secret project, "The Camel's Nose Is Under The Tent," by means of which that body intends to follow up this month's gambit to take control of the Internet with an even more audacious plan: to appropriate all IT systems, software, networks, projects, processes, and proposals the world over by the end of the year. That would mean all of your stuff that runs all of your businesses.
While I realize most of you will consider such a plan to be a bit over the top, please bear in mind that two weeks ago the United Nations agreed that no single country should dominate the Internet. Let me briefly recap that clever proposal so that you can gain a greater perspective on the U.N.'s new deeper, longer-term plan: Working out of Brussels, Belgium, the U.N. Working Group on Internet Governance objected to the United States' plan to maintain control over the computers and networks that run the Internet. As you will recall, the United Nations' plans to appropriate the Internet for "the global community" (read: The U.N.) offered a range of options from maintaining the status quo to the formation by the U.N. of several hundred new agencies and working groups and ombudspersons that would assume total control of the Internet. Also, I have learned two new things: First, the Director General himself (hereafter KA) has joined the board of a shell company formed by Al Gore (hereafter AG) to collect royalties on every person using and every data packet traversing AG's creation; and second, KA has hired AG as a consultant to develop the plan requiring all U.S. companies--that would be you--to continue to pay for and take responsibility for actually running the Internet after it is taken over. The U.N would, of course, have a governing committee to ride herd on you CIOs, consisting of about 250 U.N lifers, many of whom are rumored to have seen or in extreme cases perhaps even used a computer.
While at this time I cannot prove this with 100% accuracy, I believe strongly that the same "we play, you pay" arrangement will be required for this global IT takeover. Here's why: At the highly memorable U.N. World Summit on the Information Society in December 2003, some countries wanted the United Nations to take over the Internet. This message was taken very seriously by Markus Kummer, globetrotting technowonk and executive director of the U.N. Working Group on Internet Governance (known as WGIG, or, in U.N. shorthand, "WhirlyGig"). It's clear that in the "tent" metaphor, Kummer is the chief camel driver.
Listen to chairman Bill Gates' sales pitch at the company's Faculty Summit for researchers in Redmond last week: "Microsoft is trying to hire every great college graduate who has basic computer-science skills and we think is highly talented," he said. "We've got open headcount, these are super-well-paying jobs, you can get your own office." When Bill Gates has to convince talented programmers to come work for him because they can get an office with a door that shuts, you know times are tough.
While the AP's story indicated that Kummer said these U.N. ploys were "not meant as an attack on the United States," my own sources have given me top-secret memos bearing the initials MK and KA over such comments as "Technology is too important to be left in the hands of the stingy, capitalist private sector" and "We showed what we can do with Oil for Food, and now it's time we clean up the Internet, too." Also, while bird-dogging Kummer on a recent trip of his to New York, I heard him over lunch at McDonald's tell the Syrian minister for information technology that Syria's contentions that it invented computers and owns the Internet are "probably legitimate." So like oatmeal on a cold morning, the plot thickens.
Finally, KA and MK (and AG?) are also angling to couple this takeover of the global IT infrastructure with a simultaneous appropriation of majority ownership positions in Intel, IBM, Microsoft, VeriSign, Oracle, SAP, Dell, Cisco, and about 200 other companies to be named later (as recompense, they're proposing tax breaks for all affected companies). Here's the argument they'll use: Some developing countries are ticked off that developed countries have scarfed up all the good Internet addresses. And the United Nations will use this same argument to take over all of your global IT systems, networks, and processes: You don't deserve to have them because you've had them longer than people who don't have or haven't had them. And while you might not think that argument will go over so well in Redmond or Santa Clara or Armonk, it'll be pretty danged compelling in Brussels.
My advice? In a head-to-head confrontation, you don't stand a chance. So we need to slip a red herring into their cognac: Send KA and MK a dazzling report on the exploding world of plastics--tell them it's the next big thing, and they'll jump outta their socks and call their brokers, and then they'll convene working committees and discussion groups and call for hearings and such, but nothing will get done before 2015. And by then IT won't matter, right?
P.S.: Maybe, as a further diversion, you should also have someone write up some wacky scenario with a title like "IT Doesn't Matter." For now, over and out.
To discuss this column with other readers, please visit Bob Evans's forum on the Listening Post.
The Business of Going DigitalDigital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.