United Nations to Regulate Internet
As the world focuses on US-centric legislation like SOPA and PIPA, a less talked about United Nations Conference may be the back door that paves the way for Global control of the Internet.
The World Conference on International Telecommunications, is scheduled for December in Dubai, where member nations will review the rules and standards governing telecommunications. While this has traditionally focused on telephone, radio, satellite and television services, it is slowly creeping in to the realm of the Internet.
There are currently two sides to the debate being played out, although each are equally authoritarian, even if they don’t realize it. One side claims to be promoting the freedom of the web. Time Magazine’s Tech website states: “Institutions that govern the Internet, and which keep it free and open, are for the most part decentralized, bottom-up, multistakeholder affairs.”
Jerry Brito continues: “It is widely believed that some countries, including Russia and China, will take the opportunity to push for U.N. control of Internet governance. Such a turn of events would certainly be troubling.”
The idea that the Internet is free and open is extremely rose-colored. The market is dominated by United States based companies like Google, Facebook and Ebay. While new upstarts can still theoretically enter the market, we’re beginning to see McDonalds syndrome.
However most worrying is the US Government’s role in interfering with the Internet. Although America still likes to hide behind the facade of free-speech and freedom, in reality it has constantly been moving away from those ideals since they were codified in the Constitution. Facebook has ties to CIA front companies (which smacks of Big Brother), the Government and law enforcement are regularly crossing the line in their snooping practices (such as the young couple banned from visiting to the US because of joke Tweets), and there have been calls for the President to have the right to shut down whole parts of the infrastructure.
“Right now China, the government, can disconnect parts of its Internet in case of war and we need to have that here too,” said Senator Joe Lieberman, introducer of the bill .
Proposals for censorship based on political beliefs are also rife. Obama’s Information Czar suggested agencies could infiltrate opposition websites to counter what he calls “conspiracy theories”, if not outright banning them as thought crimes . Former President Bill Clinton agreed, calling for an independent Government body to act as an Internet fact checker .
At the December conference, 193 member states are set to renegotiate a 1988 treaty that essentially left the web unregulated. The market was quickly dominated by the United States to the point where just one US company based in Virginia (ICANN), controls the entire domain name infrastructure. US Custom’s agents have been shutting down websites the world over, for alleged copyright infringement that hasn’t taken place on US servers and only involves linking to other sites that contain infringing content. One British citizen is being extradited to the US, even though his actions aren’t considered a crime in the UK.
If the Internet is to continue under this fashion, then it certainly won’t be free and open.
On the other side of the debate are nations that oppose the United State’s unequal influence over the web. Russia, China, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, have already proposed a code of conduct that would establish “policy authority for Internet-related public issues a sovereign right of States” and not the right of ICANN or other groups that currently run the Internet . Brazil, India and South Africa have called for creation of a “new global body” to control the web .
However this is just moving from one authoritarian system in to one that is globally recognized by the UN. It certainly isn’t going to benefit the average person.
Suggestions put forward for the December conference include :
• Subjecting cyber security and data privacy to international control.
• Allowing foreign phone companies to charge fees for “international” Internet traffic, perhaps even on a “per-click” basis for certain Web destinations, with the goal of generating revenue for state-owned phone companies and government treasuries;
• Imposing unprecedented economic regulations such as mandates for rates, terms and conditions for currently unregulated traffic-swapping agreements known as “peering.”
• Transferring ICANN’s control over domain names (such as .com and .org) to the ITU.
• Subsuming under intergovernmental control many functions of the Internet Engineering Task Force, the Internet Society and other multi-stakeholder groups that establish the engineering and technical standards that allow the Internet to work.
The Globalists must be having a field day. The standard set by the United States for Internet control may now be adopted in an even more draconian format globally. It can be sold as a way of democratizing the Internet away from the US, or as a way of stopping the over-the-top censorship of states like China, but in reality it’s a way of centralizing control without a second thought about freedom.
The Internet should not be controlled by the UN or the United States. It should be controlled by the people. But then that’s too much to ask in a world full of control freaks.