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The Internet Government United States

House Panel Backs 'Internet Freedom' Legislation 87

Posted by Soulskill
from the for-select-brands-of-freedom-only dept.
GovTechGuy writes "The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed legislation on Wednesday once again affirming the current management structure of the Web. In doing so, the lawmakers made one thing clear: the only government that should have its hands on the underpinnings of the Internet is the U.S. ' It affirms the importance of an Internet free from censorship and government control and codifies the existing management structure of the Internet. ... Notably, however, lawmakers dropped from the legislation the phrase “free from government control,” which had threatened to derail the April 11 markup by the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. ... [Democrats argued] it could undermine the U.S. government’s ability to enforce existing — or future — laws online.'"
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House Panel Backs 'Internet Freedom' Legislation

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    nothing about freedom from corporate control or censorship. Interesting.

    • by guises (2423402)
      This is sort of what the “free from government control” business was about, I'll quote from the article:

      Eshoo told CQ Roll Call she had a “sneaking suspicion” the Republicans were using the Internet freedom legislation as a pretext to implement their anti-regulatory agenda.

      In other words, they're talking about net neutrality.

      • The terms get muddied. Net neutrality is regulation: Regulation to prevent service providers from doing things which are in their business interests, but would be detrimental to the internet as a whole. So an 'anti-regulatory agenda' is in opposition to net neutrality. Right now the internet is built in part on a set of very informal 'unwritten rules,' and it's dubious how well those will hold up as commercial pressures become ever greater.

        • by Kjella (173770)

          "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all packets are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Propagation, Transit and the pursuit of their Destination. --That to secure these rights, net neutrality is instituted among ISPs, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Regulation becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute n

      • by t4ng* (1092951)
        They wrote a bill that essentially says, "We affirm that we think the internet is fine the way it is." Wow! What a bold move!
        • by amiga3D (567632)

          I think they that since they don't understand the internet they make break it and are afraid of doing so. I think they are actually wise to limit any changes until they are fully understood. The main drive to change things are the content creators who think that every pirated song or movie is a lost sale. They have a lot of influence but I think even they are somewhat unsure of just what to do, at least I think they lack a consensus on the matter. The internet just kind of happened for the most part wit

          • by rtb61 (674572) on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @07:50PM (#43478717) Homepage

            Basically it all boils down to net neutrality. To maintain net neutrality requires laws, these laws basically protect the individuals right of the nature of access and establishes hard limits upon controls being placed upon that access. Now the right is opposed to that because they want unfettered corporate controls upon individual access, including unlimited monitoring, censorship and alteration of communications, with a greed is God mentality.

            Regardless no matter where in the world, the internet always crosses and is embedded in government territory ie where all the cable is laid and crossing state and national boundaries, hence the justification for government control and limits placed upon business that operate it or the preference for a government provided essential utility (as for any claims that the internet is not an essential utility, don't bother talking utter rot).

    • Well what forms of corporate control or censorship are you referring to?

      Only two forms of "corporate" censorship come to mind, one being acceptable and one being half-acceptable.

      The first one that I would call acceptable is, for example, in a private forum (such as slashdot, a corporate owned entity) being allowed to remove content that most of us consider to be disruptive from its own forum. This really is no different than a barkeep throwing a catholic doomsayer out of a bar because he's annoying the payi

      • I do believe that when you produce any digital content, you should have the right to control the means of distribution.

        Why? What makes "digital" so different from, oh, music, books, anything with copyright on it, that suddenly the first sale doctrine wouldn't apply?

        I myself wrote free software once, and when I found out somebody was selling it on ebay and elsewhere, and expecting me to support it, I was pretty well pissed off and went out of my way to make sure that it would only be distributed by the means

  • The power to control the internet rests with whomever has either control over the hardware, or control over those who have control over the hardware. They can blow all the hot air they want about an internet 'free from censorship and government control' - but in the end, a lot of that internet runs on hardware that isn't located in the US. If China, or Iran, or Saudi Arabia, or Pakistan, or Turkey, or any other country with a government that decides the internet needs to be censored of 'harmful' political o

    • It's not the job of the US government to worry about censorship practices in other countries. If you live in a country that censors the internet you can take it up with your government. It is the US governments responsiblity to ensure that countries that do practice state censorship never have a mechanism to inflict their censorship across the entire internet. If anyone has a problem with that they are certainly free to build their own.

    • Are we so diseased we assume "control by government" is the natural and proper base from which to start thinking about topics? It's a truism that government, AKA people in power who want to maintain it -- including those in the US -- will automatically assume so.

      • Someone has to control it, and it is an unavoidable fact that that control will ultimately rest with either those who control the hardware or those who are able to coerce them. Building large-scale network infrastructure is beyond the budget of volunteer groups, so there are only two options: Either the government controls the internet, or private corporations control the internet. Pick your poison.

  • I'm waiting for the rest of the world to wise up and cut off the US from the Internet. Our "we control da wurld" attitude needs a serious slap down.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Who else? Who else would you have do it? China? Iran? Mexico? Germany?

      Bitch all you want, but right now the US is the fairest playing field.

      • by vux984 (928602)

        Who else? Who else would you have do it? China? Iran? Mexico? Germany?

        How about all of the above, in some sort of collective organization that isn't controlled by any one government.

        United Nations
        WTO
        OECD

        Probably in that order.

        As dysfunctional and impotent as the UN is, it is -precisely- the sort of organization for this. And the dysfunction and impotence is -precisely- the desired operational mode; you don't want an efficient dictator. you want the near deadlock that ensures little gets done that isn't acce

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I'm a big fan of the U.N., but something like this absolutely is not a good idea.

          Take a look at the recent ITU meetings/conferences and how they are run. Yeah, that's exactly what a U.N. controlled Internet would look like. Not a pretty sight.

          For now, the U.S. is the best combination of large-enough-to-matter, and free-enough-to-be-mostly-nonevil there is. There's certainly no other country with the combination of economic/technical power that also has quite as much of a open society mindset. I'd love it

        • by phlinn (819946)
          After seeing places like Libya on the human rights council without getting laughed out of the room, I'll pass on UN control. The US is mostly hands off compared to most of the countries on the UN.
  • Which means if China decides it wants to create it's own Internet, there's nothing we can do about it.

    • by iggymanz (596061)

      no, the protocol only respects the 13 logical root servers, and ultimate control of that root zone is by the United States Department of Commerce. so good luck with your private Chinese internet

      • However, local files determine where it finds those. Simple matter to rewrite the local tables and use those.

        Who do you think manufactures most of our devices?

        • by iggymanz (596061)

          nonsense, not a simple matter to subvert operating system of a machine (by some imagined manufacturing trick) and find and overwrite whatever dns system is in use. such a thing would be quickly noticed, and would only work in the two-way and more-way transactions of the internet if all machines were subverted. in other words, it wouldn't work. you can make a private internet, but the real internet won't work with it.

          • But if said private Internet is all of China and they control all the routers and gateways, how could you stop it? They could then filter out all outbound traffic so that we could only block outbound packets, which would leave them up and running.

            China has more devices on the Internet than existing in North America in the last century. That's pretty darned big.

      • by phlinn (819946)
        The protocol is blind. Alternate root servers [wikipedia.org] have been done before.
  • Sometimes I do wonder if the US having all the control is such a good idea - Megaupload was shut down last January, without judicial due process. However I am pretty damn sure that I don't want countries like China to control my Internet...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm still stuck with AT&T DSL at 1.5mbit because South Carolina passed a law giving them a legal monopoly on fiber services in the State.

    Fuck AT&T. Fuck the US Government. Anyone who thinks the government does anything with the best interest of "we the people" in mind is a fucking blithering idiot.

    • South Carolina passed a law ... Fuck the US Government.

      So, planning on heading down to Ft. Sumter soon, are we?

  • They have opened the door. From TFA: Notably, however, lawmakers dropped from the legislation the phrase “free from government control”

    Which is to say: They have deliberately opened the door for further regulation by the FCC and whatever other federal agencies care to stick their noses in.

  • The Internet is not the world wide web. The Internet is not the world wide web. Its much bigger than that.
  • 'Freedom' and 'Legislation' are two mutually exclusive terms as far as I am concerned. It seems to me that if the US govt were really concerned with internet freedom they would NOT be passing laws, as the nature of a law is to forcibly limit freedoms that would otherwise exist naturally.

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