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Author Topic: Proposals for the UN ITU to govern/control the Internet being considered by US  (Read 2750 times)

IainB

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Since this is probably a subject likely to be of general interest, I have put a couple of info. links below.

House to examine plan for United Nations to regulate the Internet
Quote
House to examine plan for United Nations to regulate the Internet
House lawmakers will consider an international proposal next week to give the United Nations more control over the Internet.
The proposal is backed by China, Russia, Brazil, India and other UN members, and would give the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) more control over the governance of the Internet.
It’s an unpopular idea with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in Congress, and officials with the Obama administration have also criticized it.
“We're quite concerned,” Larry Strickling, the head of the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, said in an interview with The Hill earlier this year.
He said the measure would expose the Internet to “top-down regulation where it's really the governments that are at the table, but the rest of the stakeholders aren't.”
At a hearing earlier this month, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also criticized the proposal. He said China and Russia are "not exactly bastions of Internet freedom."

There is an interesting TechDirt post 2012-06-07 about this: (copied in the spoiler below, minus any indirect http links, so refer to the link for full context):
Spoiler
The Threat Of A UN Internet Takeover Is Only 'Vague' Because The UN Shares No Details
from the backroom-deals-are-a-problem dept

We've talked for a little while now about the fears that the UN's ITU (International Telecommunication Union) is seeking to effectively "take over" the internet. In the last few weeks, this has received some (welcome) new attention, including from US officials who worry about what an ITU-managed internet would look like (hint: it would be a lot less open). Of course, now there's some backlash, with some people pointing out that the actual threats here are "vague." First of all, that's not necessarily true. It's not difficult to actually put together a decent list of possible threats.

But what this really highlights is the true problem here, which is that whatever happens here is happening behind the scenes, in backrooms, without public scrutiny. And, if we're talking about regulating the internet that the public uses so much, that seems like a pretty big problem. Just as we've seen with ACTA, TPP, SOPA and lots of other things, a big part of the problem is the near total lack of transparency in what's being discussed around these ideas.

In an attempt to deal with this, Jerry Brito and Eli Dourado have hacked together and launched a new site to collect, host and distribute leaked information about the ITU's plans. With perfect timing, the first documents from the ITU, including some proposed language for International Telecommunications Regulations have leaked. Taking a quick skim, there doesn't appear to be that much of interest in the initial document leak (I reserve the right to change my opinion once I've had more time to read through it in detail...), but it's an important starting point. These documents and details need to be public and need to be discussed in public, rather than allowing internet governance be determined in a series of backroom deals.

« Last Edit: June 08, 2012, 07:31:48 AM by IainB »

IainB

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This is probably a follow on to ACTA, SOPA etc., and the DCF blackout earlier this year in joint protest with other websites, regarding such measures (see separate discussion threads in the DC Forum on these).
===========================
I have been watching this issue with interest since I first read about the ITU proposal.
One of the blogs I subscribe to is http://lauren.vortex.com/, where there is a good post about it: Saving the Internet, Ourselves, and the Future
It is copied in the spoiler below, without any embedded links:
Spoiler
Saving the Internet, Ourselves, and the Future
Since its birth as the U.S. Department of Defense ARPANET research project, the Internet has faced various threats -- some technical, some in the policy realm, and some purely political.

Recently we've seen the SOPA and PIPA legislation. Make no mistake about it -- the Hollywood content giants have not given up on their desires to reshape the Internet in their own traditional images.

We now face CISPA and its cyber-scaremongering, with cyberwar profiteering threatening to undermine decades of privacy protection legislation.

Everything in the vast repertoire of mankind is finding its way onto the Net in various guises, from wonders sublime and beautiful, to horrors of the most crass and demeaning.

There are marvels of generosity, cooperation and good will to be found all over the Net.

But there is also blatant exploitation by those who see the Internet and its technologies merely as a "gold rush" to be exploited, the best interests of the community at large be damned -- organizations explicitly entrusted with the well-being of the Net sometimes joining the dark side in the enablement of obscene profits.

Our overall unwillingness -- especially as technologists -- to "play the game" the way the "big boys" play has allowed entities with less than admirable motives to gain sway over many aspects of the Net.

In the U.S., net neutrality and service quality have languished as a few dominant ISPs have reached their pinnacles through exploitation of original monopoly grants, cherry picking deployments of broadband, and outright lying to communities -- not to mention outright political chicanery to help kill off effective competition.

We have allowed relatively minor issues such as arguments about Web cookies to become political pawns, diverting us while governments plan and deploy vast schemes to control and censor the Internet, turning the Net from a tool that could greatly enhance individual rights, into a mechanism to muzzle and control.

Fear that efforts to find new, innovative ways to solve the Net's problems might not succeed, have resulted in a continuing panicked embrace of organizations and policies of demonstrated failures, creating ever broadening wedges between the wide variety of Internet stakeholders around the planet.

And now, as the United Nations (UN) and International Telecommunications Union (ITU) contemplate a horrific takeover of many aspects of the Internet [Vint Cerf Congressional Testimony {PDF}], we reap what we have sowed through our long complacency and unwillingness to use all tools at our disposal to fight for Internet freedoms.

We may yet still have time to turn the tide for many of these issues. But every day the odds loom larger against us, and the image of Don Quixote stabbing uselessly at windmills is increasingly difficult to banish from one's mind.

When I started working on the ARPANET decades ago, most of the other students at UCLA were confined to using keypunches and IBM punch cards.

I've watched as computational power that used to fill rooms has been vastly outstripped by a tiny box hanging on my belt, and even smaller devices still.

Communications capabilities hardly even dreamed of decades ago are now commonplace. Even the masters of classical science fiction mostly had a blind spot to coming technological magic like smartphones and other personal communications devices.

To see so much of what we have jointly created being put at risk today, for the sake of government suppression and the almighty dollar, is frankly nothing short of being quintessentially depressing.

I'm not one of those persons who had an organized "plan" for my life. I never intended to become deeply involved in technology policy issues as I am now, and I morphed into that role gradually from a more traditional code hacking environment.

In retrospect, I might well have been happier if I had stayed more completely in the software engineering realm. Conceptual "satisfaction" seems much easier to derive from deployed system metrics than from seemingly intractable public policy dilemmas.

And yet, one does what one can, and I've endeavored to be scrupulously honest in the process. Over the years my various attempts at commentary and analysis have at one time or another upset just about all points on the spectrum. Perhaps this means I've struck an appropriate balance in the long run. Perhaps it means I struck out entirely. All I've ever tried to do in these regards is call the issues as I see them, suggest where I thought matters were awry and how they might be improved, and let folks make their own judgments.

But as the saying goes, all that plus a dollar will buy you a cup of cheap coffee these days.

The future will look back on what we're doing now -- right now -- towards protecting Internet freedoms. They may peer back with gratitude for what we achieved, or they may curse us in our graves for opportunities lost.

That aspect of the future is still ultimately under our control, today.

I grew up along with the Internet, and I like to think helping it in my own small ways -- watching it evolve into the technology infrastructure and communications foundation of the world.

We are now at a moment, a crossroad in history and time, where the decisions we make about the Internet, and its importance to our lives and freedoms, will have lasting effects for many years, decades, or perhaps far longer.

Will the Internet be sucked completely into the pit of oppression, censorship, and greed, or will we have the moral fortitude to say, "No! Not to our Internet. Not to what we worked so long and hard to achieve in the name of freedom, humanity, and community."

Quixotic or not, the quest for the best possible Internet for everyone is an effort in which I've been honored to be engaged. To lose this battle, this war, is potentially to lose so much else that will matter to your children, and to their children, and potentially to many more generations yet to come.

It's about so much more than bits and bytes, disks and fiber, CPUs and JavaScript. The Internet is humanity. We are the Internet.

If we lose the Internet, we lose ourselves.

Take care, all. And thanks.

--Lauren--

Posted by Lauren at May 31, 2012 05:29 PM


IainB

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Here is a possible set of reasons (including anti-Trust) why it could be a good idea for (say) the UN ITN to govern/control the Internet:
Quote
WSJ (pay-walled): Google's Monopoly and Internet Freedom
2012-06-07
BY JEFFREY KATZ

It's a position all business leaders would love to find themselves in—a massive IPO, dominance in the marketplace, and a blank slate from policy makers to do practically anything they please.
Google has enjoyed this unrivaled position for nearly a decade. It is the most popular search engine in the world, controlling nearly 82% of the global search market and 98% of the mobile search market. Its annual revenue is larger than the economies of the world's 28 poorest countries combined. And its closest competitor, Bing, is so far behind in both market share and revenue that Google has become, ...

TaoPhoenix

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Then you get this idea:

U.N. could tax U.S.-based Web sites, leaked docs show

Global Internet tax suggested by European network operators, who want Apple, Google, and other Web companies to pay to deliver content, is proposed for debate at a U.N. agency in December.

http://news.cnet.com...es-leaked-docs-show/

Am I the only one seeing the bear trap setup? "Put it all in the cloud!" "Let's tax data!"


IainB

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U.N. could tax U.S.-based Web sites, leaked docs show
Global Internet tax suggested by European network operators, who want Apple, Google, and other Web companies to pay to deliver content, is proposed for debate at a U.N. agency in December.
http://news.cnet.com...es-leaked-docs-show/
Am I the only one seeing the bear trap setup? "Put it all in the cloud!" "Let's tax data!"
No, I suspect that you would be far from alone in seeing this bear-trap.
The UN have already set a huge precedent for a strategy of taxing the wealthy economies to fund a socialist objective of wealth re-distribution and their dream of Global Government - via the UN IPCC, and its push for carbon-credit trading, a new Global Bank, etc. (see separate thread on Re: Thermageddon? Postponed!

But I don't think the cockeyed US approach to what seem to be State-subsidised or State-licenced/protected monopolies (or is it just corruption?) - e.g., including Google, Monsanto, RIAA/MAFIAA - is anything to be proud of. It could actually weaken the US case for leaving the status quo alone.
The responsibility is arguably not "all in good hands".

Renegade

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Then you get this idea:

U.N. could tax U.S.-based Web sites, leaked docs show

Global Internet tax suggested by European network operators, who want Apple, Google, and other Web companies to pay to deliver content, is proposed for debate at a U.N. agency in December.

http://news.cnet.com...es-leaked-docs-show/

Am I the only one seeing the bear trap setup? "Put it all in the cloud!" "Let's tax data!"

Taxing communications is pure, unmitigated, evil.

I would love to post what I think, but it's simply too violent. Go watch a Rob Zombie film, then turn it up a few orders of magnitude.  :mad:

Letting the Internet fall under the control of any 1 organization is utter insanity.

Letting it fall into the clutches of Satanically evil criminals like the UN/ITU is worse.

Taxing it? Way, way, way off the charts.  :mad:

Like seriously? WTF are these criminals thinking?
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

TaoPhoenix

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Here's a funny angle: Will they go after spammers for tax evasion?

Renegade

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Here's a funny angle: Will they go after spammers for tax evasion?

Prolly...  :-\
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

TaoPhoenix

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Taxing communications is pure, unmitigated, evil.
Taxing it? Way, way, way off the charts.  :mad:

Like seriously? WTF are these criminals thinking?

We have a fun little game going Renegade. You have all these great adjectives. Then they do even worse things. So what's worse than pure, unmitigated evil?

Renegade

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Taxing communications is pure, unmitigated, evil.
Taxing it? Way, way, way off the charts.  :mad:

Like seriously? WTF are these criminals thinking?

We have a fun little game going Renegade. You have all these great adjectives. Then they do even worse things. So what's worse than pure, unmitigated evil?

Hahahahah~! ;D

Not sure.

The entire problem really revolves around these ****s raising evil to infinity, then somehow managing to go to infinity +1, then x2, then ^2, then... I just can't keep track of all these infinities anymore~! :P

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

40hz

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So what's worse than pure, unmitigated evil?

The blind unmitigated desire to bring about "good" by any means necessary. (i.e. jihad, crusade, true faith, eugenics, ethnic 'cleansing', special military tribunals, college admissions exams, etc.)
 :o


Renegade

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So what's worse than pure, unmitigated evil?

The blind unmitigated desire to bring about "good" by any means necessary. (i.e. jihad, crusade, true faith, eugenics, ethnic 'cleansing', special military tribunals, college admissions exams, etc.)
 :o

+1

There is nothing worse than "well meaning" people in the machine. :(
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

40hz

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BTW, I don't see the US ceding anything to the UN without the US still remaining firmly in control once it got there.


The responsibility is arguably not "all in good hands".


Excellent point. But considering the dismal record of the UN in handling any crisis, large or small, within the last two decades, I don't really see where having them handle it will be any improvement.

Ditto for the EU with the way it's been behaving lately. Especially considering how many European nations are adopting legislation proposed by the US - but which the US government has been relatively unsuccessful getting adopted domestically. Funny isn't it how the US isn't currently blocking Pirate Bay on the ISP/search level? Or getting away with adopting laws like France and a few other places have regarding IP protection.

I personally think ALL of our current political frameworks are inadequate to the task at hand.

Too bad half the politicos that agree with me have decided some form of fascism is the answer.


IainB

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...BTW, I don't see the US ceding anything to the UN without the US still remaining firmly in control once it got there...
Yes, I would have thought that also, but not after reading this:LOST is Centralized Control of the World by the UN
I would have thought the LOST (Law of the Sea Treaty) was wanted by the US like a hole in the head, but apparently not so - according to other news reports on this.
Puzzling.