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Old 11-08-05   #1
Synikul
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U.N. control of the internet

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Beware a 'Digital Munich'

By NORM COLEMAN

It sounds like a Tom Clancy plot. An anonymous group of international technocrats holds secretive meetings in Geneva. Their cover story: devising a blueprint to help the developing world more fully participate in the digital revolution. Their real mission: strategizing to take over management of the Internet from the U.S. and enable the United Nations to dominate and politicize the World Wide Web. Does it sound too bizarre to be true? Regrettably, much of what emanates these days from the U.N. does.

The Internet faces a grave threat. We must defend it. We need to preserve this unprecedented communications and informational medium, which fosters freedom and enterprise. We can not allow the U.N. to control the Internet.

The threat is posed by the U.N.-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society taking place later this month in Tunisia. At the WSIS preparatory meeting weeks ago, it became apparent that the agenda had been transformed. Instead of discussing how to place $100 laptops in the hands of the world's children, the delegates schemed to transfer Internet control into the hands of intrigue-plagued bureaucracies.

The low point of that planning session was the European Union's shameful endorsement of a plan favored by China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Cuba that would terminate the historic U.S. role in Internet government oversight, relegate both private enterprise and non-governmental organizations to the sidelines, and place a U.N.-dominated group in charge of the Internet's operation and future. The EU's declaration was a "political coup," according to London's Guardian newspaper, which predicted that once the world's governments awarded themselves control of the Internet, the U.S. would be able to do little but acquiesce.

I disagree. Such acquiescence would amount to appeasement. We cannot allow Tunis to become a digital Munich.

There is no rational justification for politicizing Internet governance within a U.N. framework. The chairman of the WSIS Internet Governance Subcommittee himself recently affirmed that existing Internet governance arrangements "have worked effectively to make the Internet the highly robust, dynamic and geographically diverse medium it is today, with the private sector taking the lead in day-to-day operations, and with innovation and value creation at the edges."

Nor is there a rational basis for the anti-U.S. resentment driving the proposal. The history of the U.S. government's Internet involvement has been one of relinquishing control. Rooted in a Defense Department project of the 1960s, the Internet was transferred to civilian hands and then opened to commerce by the National Science Foundation in 1995. Three years later, the non-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers assumed governance responsibility under Department of Commerce oversight. Icann, with its international work force and active Governmental Advisory Committee, is scheduled to be fully privatized next year. Privatization, not politicization, is the right Internet governance regime.

We do not stand alone in our pursuit of that goal. The majority of European telecommunications companies have already dissented from the EU's Geneva announcement, with one executive pronouncing it "a U-turn by the European Union that was as unexpected as it was disturbing."

In addition to resentment of U.S. technological leadership, proponents of politicization are driven by fear -- of access to full and accurate information, and of the opportunity for legitimate political discourse and organization, provided by the Internet. Nations like China, which are behind the U.N. plan to take control, censor their citizens' Web sites, and monitor emails and chat rooms to stifle legitimate political dissent. U.N. control would shield this kind of activity from scrutiny and criticism.

The U.S. must do more to advance the values of an open Internet in our broader trade and diplomatic conversations. We cannot expect U.S. high-tech companies seeking business opportunities in growing markets to defy official policy; yet we cannot stand idly by as some governments seek to make the Internet an instrument of censorship and political suppression. To those nations that seek to wall off their populations from information and dialogue we must say, as Ronald Reagan said in Berlin, "Tear down this wall."

Allowing Internet governance to be politicized under U.N. auspices would raise a variety of dangers. First, it is wantonly irresponsible to tolerate any expansion of the U.N.'s portfolio before that abysmally managed and sometimes-corrupt institution undertakes sweeping, overdue reform. It would be equal folly to let Icann be displaced by the U.N.'s International Telecommunication Union, a regulatory redoubt for those state telephone monopolies most threatened by the voice over Internet protocol revolution.

Also, as we expand the global digital economy, the stability and reliability of the Internet becomes a matter of security. Technical minutiae have profound implications for competition and trade, democratization, free expression and access to information, privacy and intellectual-property protection.

Responding to the present danger, I have initiated a Sense of the Senate Resolution that supports the four governance principles articulated by the administration on June 30:

• Preservation of the security and stability of the Internet domain name and addressing system (DNS).

• Recognition of the legitimate interest of governments in managing their own country code top-level domains.

• Support for Icann as the appropriate technical manager of the Internet DNS.

• Participation in continuing dialogue on Internet governance, with continued support for market-based approaches toward, and private-sector leadership of, its further evolution.

I also intend to seek hearings in advance of the Tunis Summit to explore the implications of multinational politicization of Internet governance. While Tunis marks the end of the WSIS process, it is just the beginning of a long, multinational debate on the values that the Internet will incorporate and foster. Our responsibility is to safeguard the full potential of the new information society that the Internet has brought into being.

Mr. Coleman is a Republican senator from Minnesota.

LINK

This isn't alarmist crap. That corrupt bunch of dictators and thieves actually want to take control of the internet, which would give them the power to route the traffic any way they want. This is worth disolving the United Nations over if it persists in this.

This is why The United States should remain in control of the internet:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
— The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution


I don't want China and all the little muslim shitholes to have any say in any kind of regulation.
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Old 11-16-05   #2
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I am amazed that nobody has a comment on this.


Quote:
On the line: the internet's future
Ownership: World leaders meet today to discuss regulation; US fighting to regain control of global network. Censorship: State power increasingly used to limit access; Dissenters beaten outside summit site
By Daniel Howden
Published: 16 November 2005

Over the next three days a United Nations summit, in the unlikely setting of Tunisia, will attempt to thrash out the future of the internet.

More than 40 world leaders, including Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, are set to attend, and the ownership of the World Wide Web itself is at stake. What the delegates won't discuss is the creeping spectre of censorship.

What began as a military research project at the Pentagon has exploded into the most powerful network in the world and an entity upon which the global economy increasingly relies. Its future character is now in question.

At present, the closest the internet has to a governing body is an obscure American, non-profit corporation called Icann. This quasi-independent body has, for years, quietly regulated domain names and allocated addresses. But its lease is nearly up. And the world's rich and powerful will join battle for control of what they see as a gold mine.

The Bush administration wants Icann turned into a private corporation, on US soil and subject to US controls. Much of the rest of the world objects to that but the loudest opponents are countries with a history of censorship and repression, such as China and Iran. The likely balance of power in that struggle rests with the European Union, whose position is not clear.

The summit was originally conceived to address the digital divide - the gap between people who can get online and those, primarily in developing countries, who can't. Instead, it has been dominated by an argument over who controls the internet. The decisions of Icann - the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers - may seem very technical, but that does not mean they don't have direct political repercussions. The unelected Californian corporation could, in theory, block access to entire country domain names (all sites ending in .co.uk, for example, could be taken offline). But the alternative to that so far benign hegemony could, its defenders argue, be much worse. The countries leading the calls for control of the internet to be internationalised, under the aegis of the UN, are the same ones that have led the way in censoring their own citizens.

Remarkably, for a meeting called the World Summit on the Information Society, there will not be a single seminar or discussion panel held on freedom of expression. "The internet is not just a technical issue," Julian Bein, of the media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, told The Independent yesterday.

"How can countries like China, Iran and Cuba be discussing internet governance?" Mr Bein asked. "It's not only China any more, this is a worldwide problem. Now every dictator or repressive regime in the world is attempting to control what their citizens can access."

The host of the summit, expected to attract 12,000 to 15,000 delegates and up to 50 world leaders, has hardly reassured those concerned that the spectre of censorship is being ignored.

Already, rights watchdogs say, both Tunisian and foreign reporters covering the summit have been harassed and beaten. Fears of a crackdown have led some civil society groups who plan to hold their own summit on the fringe of the gathering to conceal their plans.

At the weekend, a reporter with the French daily Libération, Christophe Boltanski, who had been investigating the recent beatings of human rights activists in Tunisia, was stabbed and kicked outside his hotel in Tunis. He was not seriously injured.

The Tunisia Monitoring Group has highlighted the cases of seven men now on a hunger strike in the country and estimates that about 500 more have been jailed for expressing opinions.

Robert Menard, secretary general of Reporters Without Borders, has been banned from attending the summit. He said: "Banning the head of an organisation that defends free expression from attending a summit about the information society is absurd and unacceptable."|

The exponential expansion of the internet has been accompanied by staunch resistance from countries anxious to prevent their own people from getting greater access to information. In the two years since the last internet summit, held in Geneva, the rise of filtering technology - deployed by states to control what they don't want people to see - has been dramatic and insidious.

FULL ARTICLE that is well worth reading
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Old 11-16-05   #3
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I heard one other guy report on this. He was a fucking CRACKPOT that was ranting and raving about conspiracy theories on an AM radio station I found one day. Naturally, I wrote it off.
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Old 11-17-05   #4
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Originally Posted by thefr0g
I heard one other guy report on this. He was a fucking CRACKPOT that was ranting and raving about conspiracy theories on an AM radio station I found one day. Naturally, I wrote it off.
Good one, but do you really have no problem with the people who brought us The Oil For Food Program having the ability to manage the traffic and set the prices for domains?
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Old 11-19-05   #5
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Originally Posted by Synikul
Good one, but do you really have no problem with the people who brought us The Oil For Food Program having the ability to manage the traffic and set the prices for domains?
Don't get me wrong, I'm totally against it. I'm just saying that the only news I'd heard of it previous to you was from a lunatic, so I didn't think it was going to be a problem. Now I'm realizing that the lunatic wasn't so crazy after all.

And, am I wrong, or didn't the internet start off as a US Military network? Doesnt the fact that the net was basically born in the Unites States give us control?
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Old 11-19-05   #6
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Originally Posted by thefr0g
Don't get me wrong, I'm totally against it. I'm just saying that the only news I'd heard of it previous to you was from a lunatic, so I didn't think it was going to be a problem. Now I'm realizing that the lunatic wasn't so crazy after all.

And, am I wrong, or didn't the internet start off as a US Military network? Doesnt the fact that the net was basically born in the Unites States give us control?
Yes, but only because it was invented here. If China had invented it, that's where it would be. I understand their problem with us having this kind of control. It's a huge security risk because of all the government computers around the world that depend on it, which is one of the same reasons I don't want anyone else to have control over it.

The internet is having a huge impact in China. It's one of the things that is moving the people there into a greater state of freedom, which makes China less of a threat to America.
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Old 11-18-05   #7
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the U.S would never give up control of the Internet
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Old 11-19-05   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sephardic-male
the U.S would never give up control of the Internet
Yes, and now the conference is over. The U.N. decided to *allow* the US to keep control of it.

Quote:
Negotiators from more than 100 countries had agreed on the eve of the meeting to leave the United States in charge of the Internet's addressing system, averting a U.S.-EU showdown at this week's U.N. technology summit. But resentment over perceived U.S. control persisted.
From This Article

I'll translate for you:
"We would take it away from America if we could, but we can't. Not even the EU has the power to do this, so we'll appear to be magnanimous by releasing a statement to allow the US to keep it. Hopefully, we will have the power ot make this happen later, or maybe we can shame the liberal ignorant American people to go along with us."
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