Who will get to rule the net?

2010-12-17

Richard Moore

Bcc: FYI
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At a meeting in New York on Wednesday, representatives from Brazil called for an international body made up of Government representatives that would to attempt to create global standards for policing the internet – specifically in reaction to challenges such as WikiLeaks.
India, South Africa, China and Saudi Arabia appeared to favour a new possible over-arching inter-government body.
However, Australia, US, UK, Belgium and Canada and attending business and community representatives argued there were risks in forming yet another working group that might isolate itself from the industry, community users and the general public.
“My concern is that if we were to make a move to form a governmental-only body then that would send a very strong signal to civil society that their valuable contribution was not required or was not being looked for,” an un-named Australian representative told the meeting.

The UN has always had a democratic side, and an imperial side. In the General Assembly, and in some of the operating organizations, we sometimes see an expression of democratic spirit, while in the Security Council, and on big decisions, we get only games amongst the imperial players. 
In this article we see a futile attempt at a ‘democratic takeover’ of the net, removing it from US domination. There’s no way the US is going to give up control, until there is some NWO government to turn it over to. You can take that to the bank. The interesting thing in the article is the choice of diplomatic language, in the refusal to endorse UN regulation. 
We get the inevitable, insincere, crowd-pleasing phrases — civil society, community users, the general public — and we get the ‘meat’ of the refusal: industry. Industry in this case refers to the television, cable, and DVD industries, along with telephone-service providers and mainstream news services. I find it significant, that among the first sites to be closed down by Homeland Security, were some torrent downloading sites. Apparently, Homeland Security is just as concerned with copyright violation, as it is with terror suspects.
It is very clear what the industry wants, and there is every indication they will get it. They want the net to be the universal distribution network for securely copyrighted commercial material. Everything is metered; what you pay for is what you see. Competing non-commerical productions, such as the YouTube world, need to be suppressed, using licensing, taxes, regulations, or whatever. 
No more forwarding articles or videos on a free basis. Email will be charged per recipient, like postage, making large lists unfeasible for most of us. In order to own a domain, you’ll need to get a license, with Homeland Security in charge of the vetting process. As domain owner, it is your responsibility if any copyright violation or terrorism-supporting occurs. Open blogging can’t be supported, because it would be infeasible to police its contents. 
Through this kind of commercialization, we get a sterile Internet, without a lot of overt politically-oriented site seizures. He who sets the rules of the market, decides the nature of the traffic. 
rkm
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UN mulls internet regulation options

WikiLeaks sparks push for tighter controls.

The United Nations is considering whether to set up an inter-governmental working group to harmonise global efforts by policy makers to regulate the internet.

Establishment of such a group has the backing of several countries, spearheaded by Brazil.

At a meeting in New York on Wednesday, representatives from Brazil called for an international body made up of Government representatives that would to attempt to create global standards for policing the internet – specifically in reaction to challenges such as WikiLeaks.

The Brazilian delegate stressed, however, that this should not be seen as a call for an “takeover” of the internet.

India, South Africa, China and Saudi Arabia appeared to favour a new possible over-arching inter-government body.

However, Australia, US, UK, Belgium and Canada and attending business and community representatives argued there were risks in forming yet another working group that might isolate itself from the industry, community users and the general public.

“My concern is that if we were to make a move to form a governmental-only body then that would send a very strong signal to civil society that their valuable contribution was not required or was not being looked for,” an un-named Australian representative told the meeting.

Debate on the creation of a new inter-governmental body stemmed from a UN Economic and Social Council resolution 2010/2 of 19 July.

The resolution invited the UN Secretary-General “to convene open and inclusive consultations involving all Member States and all other stakeholders with a view to assisting the process towards enhanced cooperation in order to enable Governments on an equal footing to carry out their roles and responsibilities in respect of international public policy issues pertaining to the Internet but not of the day-to-day technical and operational matters that do not impact upon those issues.”

Much debate concerned the meaning of “enhanced cooperation” and whether a new inter-governmental body was required. Participants also debated the roles of existing organisations – such as the Internet Governance Forum, ICANN and the ITU.

The IGF – an organisation that informs the UN but makes no decisions – is running close to the end of a five-year mandate, due to expire at ?the end of the year.

The likes of ISOC, ICANN and more recently the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) have recently expressed concerns [PDF]? that a working panel to decide on the future of the IGF has been limited to representatives from member-states.

“Australia is a very strong supporter of the Internet Governance Forum,” the unidentified Australian UN representative said at the New York meeting this week. “That is very much due to the multi-stake-holder approach of the IGF. It is an inclusive process.”

Australia’s Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy said that Australian Government welcomed the resolution of the Second Committee of the United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) to extend the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) for a further five years.

The DBCDE said it would like to see the organisation retain an open and participatory membership.

“Australia has always supported the participation of civil society and the private sector in the IGF and regards their participation as being integral to the IGF’s success,” a spokesman toldiTnews.

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