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As expected, authoritarian governments line up to control the Internet
Par for the course...

 7:11 am on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

The Obama Administration's decision to relinquish American oversight of Internet domains looks worse and worse with every new development. At this point, the burden of argument is no longer on critics.

Supporters of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers handover need to explain exactly why we're thinking about doing this. There was never much of a rational argument beyond "because it's time to hand the Internet over to the 'world community,'" plus the officially unstated but widely assumed "because the world is angry at the United States over the NSA spying scandals." The former is not sufficient to overcome the problems with this move; the latter is based on some remarkably naive wishful thinking that the international community will think better of America after we surrender ICANN oversight.

The Wall Street Journal reports on the first conference on Internet governance to be held since the surprise announcement of domain authority handover in March. It went pretty much as critics feared it would, with authoritarian regimes lining up to assert control over the Internet. Everyone ignored the State Department's urgings not to discuss "the reach or limitations of state sovereignty in Internet policy."


Bad as it is... just imagine how much worse it might become...



 9:09 am on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

How seriously can we take someone who says;

the rest of the world simply does not have the same understanding of free expression that the America of 2014 does

Free speech only exists in the US.

The article is pure hot air. None of the quotes support its thesis.


 10:55 am on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Agreed Graeme! This is just self-important, egotistical trumpeting. Of more concern is the fact that there are people around like him who actually believe this.


 11:55 am on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

[Brazil's] leftist president, Dilma Rousseff, opened the conference by declaring: "The participation of governments should occur with equality so that no country has more weight than others." The Russian representative objected to "the control of one government," calling for the United Nations to decide "international norms and other standards on Internet governance." Last week Vladimir Putin called the Internet a "CIA project" and said "we must purposefully fight for our interests."

Authoritarian regimes want to control the Internet to preserve their power. "National sovereignty should rule Internet policy and governance," the Chinese representative said. "Each government should build its own infrastructure, undertake its own governance and enforce its own laws." The Saudi Arabian delegate said: "International public policy in regard to the Internet is the right of governments and that public policy should be developed by all governments on an equal footing."

Even nominal supporters of the existing multi-stakeholder model embraced the end of Internet self-governance. The delegate from India declared a greater role for the world's governments "an imperative that can't be ignored." Neelie Kroes of the European Commission said: "The Internet is now a global resource demanding global governance."

Philip Corwin, a U.S. lawyer who represents Internet companies, noted that 27 of the first 30 speakers at NetMundial were from governments or U.N. agencies—at a "meeting supposedly conceived to strengthen the private-sector-led multi-stakeholder, consensus-based policy-making model."

The above is from WSJ (as linked from the OP article, if read in full rather than the quote on WW.)

Looks like a lot of traction for nationals to grab what they can. I realize there are many America-phobes rooting for the other guy... But I hope they are also Anyother-phobes, too. Including the UN... nothing ever works right under a bureaucracy!


 6:22 pm on Apr 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

How weird. I can remember when the term "authoritarian" was invented, but had no idea people were still using it with a straight face. I guess it was another case of Double Markedness, since the full forms were "authoritarian government" vs. "totalitarian regime".


 4:35 pm on May 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

"Each government should build its own infrastructure, undertake its own governance and enforce its own laws."

That sounds to me like they are scared an international body would make their existing censorship harder.

The Internet is now a global resource demanding global governance.

No hint of anything like censorship, nor can you reasonably call the EU or India (the world's largest democracies) authoritarian.

What the Indian delegate actually said was:

Now, with such expansive coverage of such states' activities through the Internet, the role of governments in Internet governance, of course in close collaboration and consultation with other stakeholders, is an imperative that cannot be ignored. Additionally, given the important role that nongovernment stakeholders play, there should also be a clear delineation of principles governing their participation, including their accountability, representativeness, transparency, and inclusiveness

Very different from the selective quote in the article.

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