Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Internet Fascism-Yes, Thats What I Said...

Arabs team with Russia, China to push Internet control

 controversial international plan to control the Internet has aroused the protests of the United States as certain Arab nations have teamed up with Russia and China to attempt to place the World Wide Web under the control of the International Telecommunications Union.
At the World Conference on International Telecommunications currently meeting in Dubai Dec. 3-14, a group of Arab states along with Russia and China proposed that nations strictly control Internet companies, leading many critics, especially in the United States, to charge that the proposal would severely hamper Internet freedom.
With the Internet currently under the control of the United States through its corporations that first laid the groundwork and software for the development of the World Wide Web, attempts to micromanage the Internet and the companies that provide it have been resisted in the name of the free flow of information.
As the Internet has spread, however, nations that do not value nor want freedom of information have been attempting for at least a decade to restrict the information that is made available on the Web and to micromanage Internet companies so that strict limitations by various governments can be placed on access to information.
China was perhaps the first nation to insist on such restrictions, requiring that U.S. Internet companies that do business within the country censor their search engines to prevent average citizens from gaining access to information that their government considers to be off limits.
Google, for example, was forced to make such restrictions as a condition of doing business in China, but after a few years of censorship the company decided that these restrictions were unacceptable.
More recently other nations with totalitarian forms of government, such as Russia and Muslim nations, have also insisted that strict limits be placed on access to information on the Internet. These proposals have gone nowhere, in spite of support from the United Nations. But now the nations that want the restrictions are using a different tactic by pushing to place the entire Internet under the control of an international labor union, the International Telecommunications Union.
The proposal put forth in Dubai has not managed to garner very much support, however, and the talks are in danger of falling apart over opposition to the push by the Arab nations and Russia and China to place censors on the Web.
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“It’s with a heavy heart and a sense of missed opportunities that the U.S. must communicate that it’s not able to sign the agreement in the current form,” said Terry Kramer, the U.S. ambassador to the UN body. (
“It’s with a heavy heart and a sense of missed opportunities that the U.S. must communicate that it’s not able to sign the agreement in the current form,” said Terry Kramer, the U.S. ambassador to the UN body. (

Canada, U.S. snub UN telecoms treaty over government role in Internet Add to ...

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A number of western countries including Canada snubbed a UN telecommunications treaty Thursday after rivals, including Iran and China, won support for provisions interpreted as endorsing greater government control of the Internet.
The unraveling of the conference displayed the deep ideological divide at the 193-nation gathering in Dubai, where envoys grappled with the first revisions of global telecom codes since 1988 — years before the dawn of the Internet age.
A Western bloc led by a powerhouse U.S. delegation sought to stop any UN rules on cyberspace, fearing they could squeeze Web commerce and open the door for more restrictions and monitoring by authoritarian regimes that already impose wide-ranging clampdowns. The head of one tech industry group said it could “forever alter” the Web.
A rival group — including China, Russia, Gulf Arab states, African nations and others — favoured UN backing for stronger government sway over Internet affairs and claimed the Western dominance of the Internet needed to be addressed.
The battles were over language that could influence perceptions of what the Internet means as a modern tool for business, communications and societies — and not directly about specific practical regulations.
The head of the U.S. delegation, Ambassador Terry Kramer, described it as a “crossroads over the collective view of the Internet.”
Many of the disputed clauses were quashed or watered down during 10 days of negotiations, but the non-Western bloc managed to win support for wording that supported governments’ rights to have access to the Web.
This was viewed by the U.S. and its allies as a backdoor attempt to gain UN sanction for more government controls over the Internet, adding to earlier objections about references that could suggest UN backing for more state authority over content and commerce.
In a packed meeting hall, Mr. Kramer said he could not sign the final accord, noting a “heavy heart and a sense of missed opportunities.”
A host of Western nations also said they could not back the new charter by the UN’s International Telecommunications Union, or ITU, a group dating back to the birth of the telegraph more than 140 years ago.
“Internet policy should not be determined by member states, but by citizens, communities and broader society ... the private sector and civil society,” said Mr. Kramer. “That has not happened here.”
Canada’s industry minister, Christian Paradis, said in a release that Canada could not sign on to the UN treaty as it threatened an open, accessible Internet.
“Our government will continue to support an open and accessible Internet that facilitates economic development and prosperity,” Mr. Paradis said in a release.
The ITU has no powers to instantly change how the Internet operates and its regulations are non-binding. It also cannot compel reforms by states that already widely censor cyberspace.
But the U.S.-led coalition at the talks argued that any UN codes sanctioning greater government roles in the Internet — even under the framework of state security — could be used as justification for even more controls from Web watchers in places such China, Iran and other nations.
The host United Arab Emirates announced stricter Internet laws last month that outlaw postings such as insulting rulers or calling for protests. The Iranian delegate at the talks said it was time for a more “balanced approach” between the Internet’s borderless reach and the needs of nations.
There is an outside chance that final text could be rewritten to appease the U.S. and others before the meeting closes Friday. But ITU spokeswoman Sarah Parkes said it “looks like a formality” that the document will stand.
“It’s not a crime to talk about Internet inside the ITU,” said the group’s secretary-general, Hamadoun Toure, before Thursday’s decisive session.
Mr. Toure insisted the treaty did “not include provisions” on direct Internet oversight by governments. But he noted the growing rifts over how to deal with the Internet.
“There is no single world view, but several and these world views need to be accommodated and engaged,” he said after the Western rejection.
The U.S. team in Dubai also includes heavy hitters from the tech world such as Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc., which stood up against proposals by European telecoms companies to charge Internet content providers for access to domestic markets around the world.
Michael Beckerman, president and CEO of the Washington-based industry group The Internet Association, said the efforts for greater government controls could “forever alter” the current framework of the Internet.
“The unique nature of the Internet - free from government control and governed by multiple stakeholders - has unleashed unprecedented entrepreneurialism, creativity, innovation, and freedom far beyond imagination,” he said in a statement. “Preserving a free Internet for all people is essential to the preservation of political and economic liberty.”
Other issues in the accord include calls for more transparency on roaming charges by mobile phone companies, efforts to fight Internet fraud and spam and creation of a worldwide emergency number for mobile phones and other devices.

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