Strangling the Internet in its crib

Move over corruption reform, we’ve got a new priority at the UN! For the good of the world the UN must be in control of the Internet! Why, you ask? Well, for one, it’s too important to be left in the hands of non-beauracrats, and two, it’s presently being run by a non-profit (drop into loud Homer Simpson whisper-shout) ‘American corporation’.

I love it. Just think of the innovation and improvement that will happen once the UN has it's greedy little hands on this 'global resource'. They did a great job with Oil-For-Food, so why not?

As ludicrous as it sounds the UN is serious about this. The question you have to ask is: Why? The UN isn't exactly known for its computer science acumen. Hell, it's not even known for its accounting acumen. Unless you admire their bribery and embezzling skills.

So why are countries like China and Iran demanding that control be wrested away from American hands? Hmm, let me think... control perhaps?

I think there are two things going on here. At the surface level the UN is a group of Uber-Leftist-bureaucrats. Like any bureaucracy they have to have a reason to exist. I mean besides the real reason: doing next to no work and making the lives of real people a living hell. Up until now the UN was supposed to be a bureaucracy in the service of world peace. However, that cover story is obviously wearing thin. So, why not something with zing, something hip and sexy, like controlling the Internet?

Just think of all the babes you could pick up as a UN diplomat, "Whoa... pretty lady alert! Hey, you know I control the Internet. Yeah, we're all over this tech thing. So you wanna come back to my place and get digital? Heh."

The whole world peace thing is over rated anyway. So why not get into the tech sector. That's where all the money's at right? And who controls the Internet now? Why it's the arrogant, powerful Americans. They don't deserve to control the Internet. They don't care about the welfare and equality of all people on the earth like we, the paper pushing, declaration producing UN does.

Breaking America's grip on the net

A number of countries represented in Geneva, including Brazil, China, Cuba, Iran and several African states, insisted the US give up control, but it refused. The meeting "was going nowhere", Hendon says, and so the EU took a bold step and proposed two stark changes: a new forum that would decide public policy, and a "cooperation model" comprising governments that would be in overall charge.

Much to the distress of the US, the idea proved popular. Its representative hit back, stating that it "can't in any way allow any changes" that went against the "historic role" of the US in controlling the top level of the internet.

But the refusal to budge only strengthened opposition, and now the world's governments are expected to agree a deal to award themselves ultimate control. It will be officially raised at a UN summit of world leaders next month and, faced with international consensus, there is little the US government can do but acquiesce.

The Internet is going to play a more important role in the lives of everyone in the future. Giving the UN control of that future will basically ensure that the internet will not live up to its potential but rather will be hamstrung by the numerous dictatorial regimes and corrupt officials who now inhabit the UN. The corrupt regimes of the UN wisely see that the Internet poses a huge threat to their way of life. After all how can you control the population when they can freely communicate with any one in the world?

Bypassing the state run media? Preposterous. Posting arguments of dissent for all the world to read? UNacceptable. All the carefully controlled media and communication channels, at great expense to these regimes, is all for naught if the Internet is available to everyone.

Despite assurances that they don't want to 'control' the Internet, they nevertheless are insisting that they control it. There is irony in even the place of the next 'take control of the internet' summit; Tunisia, a country that actively suppresses its people and more importantly attempts to control Internet access.

"Putting a summit on the future of Internet in society in a country like Tunisia is like holding an environmental summit in a nuclear power plant," says Alexis Krikorian, director of Freedom to Publish, International Publishers Association in Geneva. "We believe it is a very inappropriate place for such a meeting to take place."

..."The government controls domestic broadcasting, as well as the circulation of both domestic and foreign publications. In addition, the government uses newsprint subsidies and control over public advertising revenues as a means for indirect censorship," the report says. "Since President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali's ascent to power, Tunisian journalists who are critical of the regime have been harassed, threatened, imprisoned, physically attacked, and censored… Internet access is tightly controlled, and the government will at times intervene to block access to opposition Web sites."

Says the 2005 report of Reporters Without Borders, a group that monitors press freedom around the world, "It is a cruel irony that Tunisia will host the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in November 2005." msnbc

Asked why the summit is being held in Tunisia the UN could only say that members wanted it there. So what about when the members want to start messing with the structure of the Internet? The UN is powerless against these dictators and doesn't make any distinctions (or value judgments) between free states and non-free states in its membership so how can we expect that the pie in the sky promises of UN do gooders are anything less than cover for the tyrannies that are pulling the strings here?

But, he noted, such decisions are taken by votes of the member states, "and if the member states want something, it is their right to vote for it." He also noted that U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan is currently lobbying for changes that would make such situations far less likely in the future. msnbc
Posted by Eric Simonson at October 11, 2005 5:39 PM