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UN Takeover of Internet Must Be Stopped, US Warns 454

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-hard-to-let-go dept.
benfrog writes "In a rare show of bipartisan agreement, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle warned this morning that a United Nations summit in December will lead to a virtual takeover of the Internet if proposals from China, Russia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia are adopted. Called the World Conference on International Telecommunications, the summit would consider proposals including '[using] international mandates to charge certain Web destinations on a "per-click" basis to fund the build-out of broadband infrastructure across the globe' and allowing 'governments to monitor and restrict content or impose economic costs upon international data flows.' Concerns regarding the possible proposals were both aired at a congressional hearing this morning and drafted in a congressional resolution (PDF)."
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UN Takeover of Internet Must Be Stopped, US Warns

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  • by dhammabum (190105) on Friday June 01, 2012 @12:33AM (#40176461)

    The only thing they are worried about is that the US would not control it.

    • by DigiShaman (671371) on Friday June 01, 2012 @12:37AM (#40176497) Homepage

      Bad, or worse. Pick one.

      • by ehintz (10572) on Friday June 01, 2012 @01:07AM (#40176669) Homepage

        Ok. But, help me out here, which one is bad, and which one is worse?

        • by superdave80 (1226592) on Friday June 01, 2012 @01:13AM (#40176689)

          ...proposals from China, Russia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia ...

          Yeah, I totally want those guys making suggestions about the internet.....

          • by Macthorpe (960048) on Friday June 01, 2012 @01:39AM (#40176817) Journal

            I'm sorry, which government was it that started seizing .com domains without warning?

            The article itself is full of "could allow", "might allow", "tries to" language that never goes quite far enough to say that things will definitely pan out the way the US government wants you to think it will. The US is scared that it's own control will be eroded by others. Given the way they've abused that control, maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea to see what other people make of it.

            • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 01, 2012 @01:41AM (#40176829)

              So you think that having all of the above-mentioned countries controlling the Internet would be better?

              I don't disagree that the US has a deplorable history of behavior towards the Internet, but it could be *a lot* worse.

              • by Macthorpe (960048) on Friday June 01, 2012 @02:49AM (#40177185) Journal

                So you think that having all of the above-mentioned countries controlling the Internet would be better?

                The above mentioned countries were only mentioned because those are the states you're scared of.

                My point is mainly that the US government is trying to say "Hey, don't let these guys control the internet - they might be as bad or worse than we've already proved ourselves to be!"

                • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                  by Anonymous Coward

                  But that's like Obama's argument for re-election, yet you'll still vote for him.

                • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:57AM (#40177531)

                  "Hey, don't let these guys control the internet - they've actively attempted at every juncture and publicly stated a future intention to be worse than we've already proved ourselves to be"

                  Fixed that for you.

                • by arglebargle_xiv (2212710) on Friday June 01, 2012 @07:51AM (#40178369)

                  My point is mainly that the US government is trying to say "Hey, don't let these guys control the internet - they might be as bad or worse than we've already proved ourselves to be!"

                  It does actually remind me of Hosni Mubarak's "Support me or you might get the Muslim Brotherhood". Or Ali Abdullah Saleh's "Support me or you might get Al Qaeda". Or Ben Ali's "Support me or you might get the Taliban". In every case it was just a scarecrow used by an abusive regime to cling to power...

                  • by Digital Vomit (891734) on Friday June 01, 2012 @08:05AM (#40178433) Homepage Journal
                    Or the Democrats' "Support me or you might get Republicans"...
                  • by d3ac0n (715594) on Friday June 01, 2012 @08:43AM (#40178691)

                    It does actually remind me of Hosni Mubarak's "Support me or you might get the Muslim Brotherhood"

                    It wasn't a scare tactic. Have you SEEN the elections in Egypt? In case you weren't following, The Muslim Brotherhood WON (Under the moniker of the "Freedom and Justice Party"). Same thing is happening in Libya. Exactly as predicted.

                    Mubarak and Ghaddaffi may have both been totalitarian assholes, but at least they were CONTROLLABLE assholes that did what was necessary to keep Islamic extremists under control in their countries. Mubarak went out of his way to protect the minority Copts in his country. Not because he loved them, but because he feared international backlash if he didn't.

                    The Muslim Brotherhood has no such compunctions. They are driven by ideology, not statecraft. Expect the slaughter of the Copts, and the destruction of Egyptian historical monuments (as "offenses to Allah", like Bhuddhist monuments in Afghanistan, Jewish temple relics in Palestine, and ancient Christian churches in Turkey) to follow. This is what happens EVERY TIME that truly committed Muslims gain control of a country politically. it's happened before, it will happen again.

            • by jupiter126 (2471462) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:05AM (#40177563)
              US, EU, UN, China, Iran, CIA, RIAA, MPAA, your boss,... which of the above wouldn't want to control the internet (or at least what you do with it)? Controlling the internet is today's war, and most the precited don't care about your opinion and just want to enforce their convictions upon you.

              The real question is thus not weither they will fight until one is victorious, but how and when we will organise against their control.

              Actions like the "Pirate Party" tend to fight this trend in a legal way, but what governements and corporations should understand is that using steganography, create VPN's and mesh networks (ever setup a pirate box?) is only a consequence of their inability to find suitable legislation - and most likely a cause of their demisal.
            • by Xest (935314) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:12AM (#40177593)

              Yep, this is merely scaremongering at it's greatest.

              America can quote the names of countries it believes instills fear in it's populace all it wants, but those countries can't do jack shit when the rest of the world would oppose it.

              The fact is, if a proposal couldn't get the EU and US on board, then it wouldn't stand a chance in hell of passing anyway, so the only reason this fear mongering would ever hold true is if America sided with Iran, China, Russia, North Korea or whatever other country names it's trying to cause fear with.

              But then, maybe that's the problem? maybe the US is afraid it would side with them given the fact it's to date the only country that has enforced it's national principles on the global internet with ICE domain seizures of international domains, owned by international businesses.

              This article is a perfect example of the term FUD, it is 100% FUD, an attempt to retain control of the internet by the US so it can enforce it's ridiculous IP policies on the rest of the internet against the will of the rest of the world.

              UN control of the internet would never be dictated by a minority in the way some special interest UN committees and groupings are like the WTO, which is a puppet of US trade policy, historically setup because WIPO was previously too democratic for the US and didn't let the US push it's self-interest globally due to numerous democratic defeats by countries like Africa disagreeing with the lengths of America's patent and copyright terms for example.

              Really, the solution is simple - tenatively support transfer of control to the UN, and see what's proposed, if the proposal is that any one country can do something nasty, then refuse to participate in the process and hence prevent it going ahead. If however a proposal is put forward that protects neutrality of the internet, prevents arbitrary censorship by any one nation, etc. then we're in a far far better situation than we are now. The US doesn't want that though, because it wants to enforce it's own arbitrary censorship on the globe, and THAT is why it's spreading this FUD, rather than offering to engage in the process of making the internet safer from government meddling and censorship by forcing it into an organisation that requires consensus.

              Really, between ICE seizures, and the whole custom TLD thing which seems merely designed to make ICANN billions of dollars in revenue whilst completely fucking up the hierachial structure of the DNS I don't know how the US can claim either moral, or technical superiority as an excuse to continue controlling the internet. With the US becoming ever more right wing, and ever more religiously zealous it's becoming ever less trustworthy as a guardian of the internet. Things are only going to continue to get worse under US stewardship of the internet, PIPA, SOPA, ACTA et. al. have only been a preview of that, Obama said he'd have vetoed the bills had they made it to him, would Romney? would the next Bush?

              So to take the parents point about "could allow", "might allow", "tries to", I'd like to point out that these statements also apply to the US though personally I'd replace these with "probably will within the next couple of decades".

              • by ultranova (717540)

                America can quote the names of countries it believes instills fear in it's populace all it wants, but those countries can't do jack shit when the rest of the world would oppose it.

                The rest of the world won't oppose "it", as long as "it" is censorship. No politician on Earth has anything to gain from free flow of information, and plenty to gain from controlling what their citizens see, so the one thing they all can agree on is that the Internet needs to be censored. That's why more and more countries erect

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Prefer the UN rather then the US

          • by thej1nx (763573) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:02AM (#40177551)
            Well maybe you should have stopped USA government from abusing its monopoly of the internet by passing laws that can ban any domain name. And you should have stopped US judges from thinking that US laws apply to the entire world(except where it is impractical i.e. if other country cannot be controlled). It gave these other countries an excuse("Why should only USA be allowed to police the internet as per its own laws, when internet is now a global resource? Why can we not then, apply our own laws and censorship rules as well?") AND it gave them an incentive to de-centralize the internet control, since USA showed that it has to power to disrupt the internet for any country not toeing the line, *and* is willing to abuse that power. They do not want that.
            .

            USA has only succeeded in fragmenting the internet. For all its talk about wanting to help activists across the world, and instill democracy in non-democratic countries, it has succeeded in taking away the biggest weapon that the activists in such regimes had, by choosing to abuse its monopoly on behalf of greedy MPAA/RIAA. And you allowed this to happen, by not stopping your senators from voting such corporate-paid laws into effect. So yeah, you *totally* did want this to happen apparently.

            • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:07AM (#40177789) Journal

              I am not American, by the way.

              The USA government is not perfect. Far from it. The domain seizure (not the entire internet, just the big 3 TLDs) without due process is awful. The wheels of justice turn slowly, and often very slowly in America. As Winston Churchill put it:

              "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities."

              this is in contrast to most other countries which will stop short. I know mine (UK) will. We have a shadowy organisation (the IWF) responsible for blocking child pronography. The list of blocked sites has not yet been leaked, but in every other country where a direct analog list has been leaked it's turned out that there's plenty more than just child pronography on that list. I doubt that our blocklist is any better. And they're always looking to expand it to other objectionable content like "hate speech". And the government are now looking to put filters everywhere.

              Look at any other European (or Australia) country and it's the same. Look anywhere else and it's worse.

              The USA is, frankly, the only organisation that I would trust to any reasonable degree to actually run the internet. They will do it badly, and have long periods of injustice. But they have the strongest free speech protections of anywhere in the world and will almost certainly do it better and with less injustice that anyone else.

              Who do you think would do a better job than the USA and why?

              • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 01, 2012 @06:37AM (#40178113)

                I must say that I think exactly like you on this topic. I'm not American - but when I read the list of countries this proposal came from, I nearly had to puke.

                The US are not a judicial miracle wonderland - but they are certainly the best option we have.

                And *anything* handed over to the UN is bound to finally be controlled by dictatorships in the worst case, or a complete bureaucratic dystopian organization in the best case. Better leave it with the US for now.

              • by Post-O-Matron (1273882) on Friday June 01, 2012 @08:12AM (#40178477)

                Nobody. As in "I think Nobody should have complete control over the internet".

                The internet is a global "region". I don't use the word "resource" here because I don't consider it a resource in this context. I think it's more comparable to international waters. There are globally accepted rules about international waters and the global community enforces them. Any country with a coast also has a portion of the sea which is considered "theirs" and within it their rules apply. But the rest of it belongs to no one.

                I think the same thing should happen to the internet. And let's be frank, by "the internet" here we mean control of TLDs, as everything else derives from that. The US government can then block "fuckamerica.com" from within the US, but not completely take it down in the rest of the world. That's the way it should be.

          • If you believe in democracy and free speech then you totally DO want them to participate in a global communications treaty. If democracy really is the best ideaology on offer then surely it will pass the test of refusing to censor it's own enemies?

            Posting due to lack of a +1-hypocritical option.
          • by kbg (241421)

            Yes, its totally not like the US puts people in indefinite detention or tortures prisoners or assassinates people without any evidence right?

    • by tnk1 (899206) on Friday June 01, 2012 @12:43AM (#40176531)

      I like how they are already starting to talk about taxing it to pay for it's regulation by them. As far as I can tell, the Internet is working fine without them, so I am not sure what click taxes are going to buy for anyone, other than funding regulations that only certain governments who dislike current liberties on the Internet would be interested in.

      This goes to show my usual theory about politicians. They're mostly technically ignorant, but they can usually muster just enough insight to know that they should avoid nightmare scenarios like this. It's more of a survival instinct than anything else.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 01, 2012 @12:48AM (#40176563)

        Power is a zero-sum game. The more empowered "the people" become, the less powerful governments become. And vice versa.

        Inasmuch as the Internet empowers people, every government in the world sees it as a power sink and wants to put a nice tight leash on it.

    • by ktappe (747125) on Friday June 01, 2012 @12:55AM (#40176589)

      The only thing they are worried about is that the US would not control it.

      Did you bother reading even the summary? I'm usually pro-U.N. but here they're sanctioning government censorship of the Internet. This is seriously messed up and there is no way the U.S. should support it.

      • by dhammabum (190105)

        I was being facetious - every government wants to control whatever they can. While I would rather no one controls the Internet, and having Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and Iran guiding matters would be disastrous, it is probably only a matter of time when the game will be over, the Internet becomes just another tool of governments and corporations, and we'll all have to go home. I do despair....

      • How about US censorship of porn and gambling? Or do you think the .xxx domain will not be used by republicans to make a push in the future to force all porn on to that new domain and then block it everywhere?

        How about the DMCA which has been used to censor material considered undesirable by both parties funders?

        Censorship comes in many forms. Frankly it is no issue to me if Iranians can't see some stuff, but the DMCA hits everyone in the whole world. The US dictating its laws world wide is far worse then a

        • by artor3 (1344997)

          How about US censorship of porn and gambling? Or do you think the .xxx domain will not be used by republicans to make a push in the future to force all porn on to that new domain and then block it everywhere?

          I distrust moral crusaders as much as anyone, but are you seriously using a hypothetical future event as an example? What the hell sort of logic is that?

          • by FrootLoops (1817694) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:34AM (#40177877)

            I agree. I don't know how the GP got modded so highly. It did rail against the DMCA, the government in general, Republicans in particular, and it called the US government a slave to its "corporate masters"--all of which wins the /. popularity contest--but still, it's so... stupid.

            To be specific...
              * The .xxx scenario he outlined is ridiculously implausible. Porn was around in images, magazines, and film for decades or centuries in the US before the internet came around. It would take a fundamental, radical shift away from the First Amendment to "block it everywhere". It's just not going to happen. If anything the US is getting less conservative with time, not more.
              * The idea that Iranians can "get rid of their government if they want an uncensored net" is naive in the extreme. Revolutions are terrible--they're bloody economic disasters that might not even do anything substantial when the dust finally settles. And it's not as if any large group of people ever agrees on anything. The way the sentence is phrased makes it seem as if Iranians are actually a single entity which is, well, stupid.

        • by khipu (2511498) on Friday June 01, 2012 @05:14AM (#40177825)

          Frankly it is no issue to me if Iranians can't see some stuff

          If the UN gets control of the Internet, there is a real risk that you won't get to see what Muslim clerics and conservative Christians deem offensive, because together, they control a large number of powerful governments.

          How about US censorship of porn and gambling? Or do you think the .xxx domain will not be used by republicans to make a push in the future to force all porn on to that new domain and then block it everywhere?

          Porn and gambling are highly restricted in most places around the world, including parts of Europe. When you compare free speech rights around the world, the US is still better than almost all other places.

          but the DMCA hits everyone in the whole world.

          Bad as the DMCA is, it is still better than the legal situation that exists in many European countries. Look at France's HADOPI or the ability of Germany's GEMA to restrict music distribution in Germany.

      • by bug1 (96678) on Friday June 01, 2012 @02:56AM (#40177217)

        The US demonstrated it is prepared to censor the Internet when they disrupted wikileaks.

        The US has demonstrated it is not capable of behaving responsibly when it has influence over DNS.

        Maybe the UN might be just as bad as the US, but they havent demonstrated that failure like the US has.

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Friday June 01, 2012 @12:56AM (#40176595)
      They say they're worried that China, Russia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia would gain control.

      They're ACTUALLY worried about Sweden or the Netherlands gaining control.
    • by Zemran (3101) on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:18AM (#40177331) Homepage Journal

      Because we know what a great job the US has done of controlling it. I think it needs to leave the US as that becomes dependant on the whims of the crazy legal and commercial interests. It needs to be independent of any government. The only way that can be achieved is through the UN.

  • You fools! (Score:5, Funny)

    by maugle (1369813) on Friday June 01, 2012 @12:41AM (#40176511)
    You all kept saying that nobody could mishandle the Internet worse than the US, and the UN took it as a challenge!
  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Friday June 01, 2012 @12:44AM (#40176539) Homepage

    The US is not great. The US does things like seizing domain names based on minimal cause and then spending years before they give them back. A lot of those seized have been over copyright issues and in some cases they haven't even been clearly infringing. This is similar to how many states in the US have assert forfeiture laws which allow police to confiscate large sums of money or cars under minimal suspicion of involvement with illegal drug dealing, and getting them back is difficult.

    But the UN would be worse. The UN contains many countries with little conception of free speech. Even allies of the US like Canada and Britain have substantially less free speech than the US does. In the case of Britain libel although being reformed is still very much a danger. In Canada, speech which specifically targets minorities or criticizes religions can be labeled as hate speech with fines given. And most of the world, is much much worse. Consistently a large fraction of the Islamic countries have tried to push through anti-blasphemy regulations in the UN. So far they've failed. But it is easy to imagine what would happen if they could actually block pictures of Muhammad. Similarly. China would slaver at the thought of not having to do its own censorship but simply have no websites discussing Tiananmen Square at all. Letting even weak internet control get in the hands of the UN is a recipe for disaster. Maybe in 20 or 30 years when the free speech situation has improved. But not right now.

    • by jamstar7 (694492) on Friday June 01, 2012 @01:01AM (#40176631)

      Maybe in 20 or 30 years when the free speech situation has improved. But not right now.

      I seriously doubt in 20 or 30 years the free speech situation will improve. Going by recent history, I'd say it's a full tilt sucker bet that the situation will get worse.

    • The UN contains many countries with little conception of free speech. Even allies of the US like Canada and Britain have substantially less free speech than the US does. In the case of Britain libel although being reformed is still very much a danger. In Canada, speech which specifically targets minorities or criticizes religions can be labeled as hate speech with fines given. And most of the world, is much much worse.

      While it is completely true that there are many countries in the UN that definitely don't have proper free speech your comment highlights a major difference in the European and American interpretation of the term "free speech". In most of Europe free speech means the freedom to express your thoughts and opinions. Free speech is not considered the freedom to say anything you please.

      For example if I were to set up a web site proclaiming that all black people are simply not human and that black women should be

      • by artor3 (1344997) on Friday June 01, 2012 @01:37AM (#40176809)

        It would be legal. The US does have some limitations on incitements to violence, but a webpage expressing the things you described wouldn't fit the bill. You pretty much have to be pointing at a person, yelling "Hey everyone, kick that n*****/f*****/etc.'s ass!" in order for the first amendment not to protect you.

  • by multicoregeneral (2618207) on Friday June 01, 2012 @12:47AM (#40176557) Homepage
    I think the question lies in what you consider worse. Do you fear unlimited, unaccountable, and unbridled surveillance, like the kind that's being proposed in the US, that effectively covers the entire world... or are you more worried about censorship, virtual toll roads that make the doing business more expensive, and totally unrepresented taxation? Not to mention regional fragmentation, which you'll see in some of the proposals. Neither agenda is good, but which is worse? Personally, I don't think either side of this debate understands the internet at all. If the internet is going to be controlled by anyone, it should be the people who work and live in it. It's mine, damn it.
    • by ktappe (747125)

      I think the question lies in what you consider worse. Do you fear unlimited, unaccountable, and unbridled surveillance, like the kind that's being proposed in the US... or are you more worried about censorship

      Unfortunately it's not either/or. We're all likely to eventually get both.

    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday June 01, 2012 @01:08AM (#40176681)

      Who cares if anyone can surveil was is sent across the internet. That is rather the point of a public network, and if you don't want others to snoop then you encrypt.

      ANY of the other stuff inherently breaks the internet or at least seals it off to a huge portion of the planet.

      It's not even close which is why even in the middle of an election season two diametrically opposed parties are dead set against it, in unison.

    • by kdemetter (965669) on Friday June 01, 2012 @01:15AM (#40176699)

      I think the question lies in what you consider worse. Do you fear unlimited, unaccountable, and unbridled surveillance, like the kind that's being proposed in the US, that effectively covers the entire world... or are you more worried about censorship, virtual toll roads that make the doing business more expensive, and totally unrepresented taxation?

      They are both part of the same thing : finding dissident voices and shutting them up.
      And I want neither.

    • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Friday June 01, 2012 @10:42AM (#40179999)

      You think the US has unbridled surveillance?

      Compared to what is going on in China, one of the parties to this proposal?

      It's not an either-or. With the US you will get surveillance with at least a little accountability. With the UN you will get unbridled surveillance, censorship, toll roads and no accountability.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 01, 2012 @12:58AM (#40176609)

    The internet was designed to be open and free. Leave it be.
    The internet was designed to be unregulated. Leave it be.
    The internet was designed with open access for everyone in mind. Leave it be.
    The internet was designed to be unhindered, unfettered, unfiltered, uncapped. Leave it be.

    For those bastards who think they have the right and the need to control it, regulate it, tax it, reroute it, filter it, cap it, limit it, contain it - leave it be.

    Information wants to be free, it will find a way. The internet, like nature will evolve until it does so.

  • by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Friday June 01, 2012 @01:01AM (#40176623)

    It's pretty common to believe that no central source can control the internet - and it's true for the most part - with one major exception: IANA ultimately answers to the US Department of Commerce.

    In order for the internet to function, there has to be a central authority who determines who gets what IP addresses and domain names. That authority is under the control of the US. Sure you could create your own internets (yes, plural) with your own name and number rules, however if you can't all agree upon who gets what IP address blocks and domain names, you aren't going to have a very cohesive and universal network like the one we have today.

    Honestly, I am perfectly fine with the US having control over that, and in fact would much rather they hold the keys rather than the UN. If the UN had their way, that would mean countries who have heavy influence of the UN (e.g. China) would have their way.

    So far, the US has done a great job. Sure, we've had talks about filtering the internet (e.g. SOPA) many times, but unlike 90% of the other countries out there (Australia, UK, Germany, China, Iran, just to name a few,) we haven't acted upon any of them. Granted, we have taken extraordinary and unnecessary if not unethical measures, such as taking down megaupload, we didn't do so by ordering IANA to break the infrastructure.

    The best thing about the US having control, is that we've never done anything to dismantle the infrastructure in the name of politics. The UN wants control because they plan on doing exactly that.

    • by elucido (870205)

      It's pretty common to believe that no central source can control the internet - and it's true for the most part - with one major exception: IANA ultimately answers to the US Department of Commerce.

      In order for the internet to function, there has to be a central authority who determines who gets what IP addresses and domain names. That authority is under the control of the US. Sure you could create your own internets (yes, plural) with your own name and number rules, however if you can't all agree upon who gets what IP address blocks and domain names, you aren't going to have a very cohesive and universal network like the one we have today.

      Honestly, I am perfectly fine with the US having control over that, and in fact would much rather they hold the keys rather than the UN. If the UN had their way, that would mean countries who have heavy influence of the UN (e.g. China) would have their way.

      So far, the US has done a great job. Sure, we've had talks about filtering the internet (e.g. SOPA) many times, but unlike 90% of the other countries out there (Australia, UK, Germany, China, Iran, just to name a few,) we haven't acted upon any of them. Granted, we have taken extraordinary and unnecessary if not unethical measures, such as taking down megaupload, we didn't do so by ordering IANA to break the infrastructure.

      The best thing about the US having control, is that we've never done anything to dismantle the infrastructure in the name of politics. The UN wants control because they plan on doing exactly that.

      More governments arguing for control over the internet is better than just having one government and fewer people deciding,

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 01, 2012 @01:03AM (#40176647)

    This is all a bit rich, reading the resolution, considering that is is coming from the country which unilaterally seizes [easydns.org] domains [arstechnica.com]at will [wired.com].

    Don't forget as well that this is coming from the same government that proposed a kill switch [wikipedia.org] for the Internet. Sounds more like "nobody should control the Internet, unless it is us" (well, this arguably applies to the US part of the Internet).

    The resolution also says: "Whereas the world deserves the access to knowledge, ... and the informed discussion that is the bedrock of democratic self-government that the Internet provides;"
    I thought that WikiLeaks and cablegate were exactly the kind of things which promote a healthy discussion in a democracy, but I doubt that that's what they had in mind when they drafted this resolution, free access to knowledge and all.

    This all seems more like a bit of patriotic posturing. Blah blah land of the free blah blah cannot trust anybody else to be as free as we are blah blah. Seriously, it does not matter one bit what will be proposed at this conference; how exactly are you going to *force* the US to relinquish control? Not going to happen.

    • You mentioned the U.S. seized a few domains. I also think that was wrong.

      But the U.N. would block whole CATEGORIES of domains from even existing.

      You are worried about a theoretical Kill Switch on the internet. The U.N. wants a Kill Switch on every website...

      to be pressed by the Chinese or Russians as they see fit.

      And you are seriously arguing against the U.S. on this one? Yes they could improve but you don't seem to be grasping how much worse things could get, very quickly.

  • by qirtaiba (582509) on Friday June 01, 2012 @01:05AM (#40176653) Homepage
    As any expert will tell you [internetgovernance.org], none of these pie-in-the-sky proposals about the ITU taxing the Internet or the like have any chance of being pushed through. Even the US government itself doesn't take the risk seriously [internetgovernance.org], except for political purposes like this. This is all just the latest step in a huge beat-up [theregister.co.uk] about something that could never happen. The motivation is just to distract from the real Internet governance changes that do need to happen, and that are being discussed much more sensibly in other fora (such as at the WSIS Forum last month in Geneva). That doesn't mean that we need to keep an eye the ITU, because it is true that it's a very secretive and closed organisation, but at least let's be honest about the risks.
    • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Friday June 01, 2012 @02:41AM (#40177141) Homepage
      It's being nipped in the bud. Otherwise, this happens:

      "It is at first denied that any radical new plan exists; it is then conceded that it exists but ministers swear blind that it is not even on the political agenda; it is then noted that it might well be on the agenda but is not a serious proposition; it is later conceded that it is a serious proposition but that it will never be implemented; after that it is acknowledged that it will be implemented but in such a diluted form that it will make no difference to the lives of ordinary people; at some point it is finally recognised that it has made such a difference, but it was always known that it would and voters were told so from the outset."
      -- Times editorial, published on August 28, 2002

  • by mvdwege (243851) <mvdwege@mail.com> on Friday June 01, 2012 @02:23AM (#40177051) Homepage Journal

    What I miss in both the summary and the linked articles are two things:

    1. The actual text of the proposals that are to be submitted at the ITU conference in question.
    2. The support that these proposals, if they exist, can expect to get from the rest of the ITU members present.

    Frankly, all I see right now is the usual anti-UN hit piece written by a lazy American journalist, and a Slashdot audience of complete chumps who fall for it.

  • by xenobyte (446878) on Friday June 01, 2012 @03:03AM (#40177249)

    Which is better/worse: The known evil of the US abusing their control power to steal domains and disrupt business for those they do not like (as the result of bribes, misguided politics or plain stupidity), or the possible evil of groups in the UN imposing national politics on the greater Internet?

    I personally prefer to deal with the known, and the known is that the US has been grossly abusing their current power on the Internet - and that needs to be stopped.

I use technology in order to hate it more properly. -- Nam June Paik

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