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World Summit On The Internet And IT 323

Posted by Hemos
from the building-a-future dept.
eegad writes "The Seattle PI reports on the upcoming first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society to be held in Geneva on December 10-12. 192 nations are involved in the effort to set some ground rules for the Internet (a little late, eh?) including ways to deal with spam, a possible "digital solidarity fund" to help developing nations, and discussion of UN regulation. The goal of this phase is to adopt a "Declaration of Principles" and "Plan of Action". Some countries plan on asking for a UN commission to study new ways of running the Internet aimed at the 2005 phase. The official website will provide coverage of the event. How come I wasn't invited?" The Washington Times also has a piece on it, as well. We had covered this a bit before.
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World Summit On The Internet And IT

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  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Monday December 08, 2003 @10:30AM (#7659294) Homepage Journal

    192 nations are involved in the effort to set some ground rules for the Internet ... including ways to deal with spam

    I hope Nigeria doesn't have any sort of veto power at this summit.
    • by Zocalo (252965) on Monday December 08, 2003 @10:44AM (#7659386) Homepage
      Actually, given the probable means of applying the death penalty in Nigeria (stoning), combined with the Nigerian government's efforts to crack down on 419 scams, I rather hope Nigeria *does* have a big say at the conference... I'll be right at the front of the queue for a bag of gravel, and some nice pointy rocks when the first spammers get marched out.
      • Actually, given the probable means of applying the death penalty in Nigeria (stoning)

        The death penalty is carried out by firing squad in Nigeria. You do get to watch, though, if you're into that sort of thing.

        • Actually they have multiple means of carrying out the death penalty in Nigeria; firing squad, stoning and hanging I'm fairly sure of, and there maybe others. There was a case recently where a Nigerian who became pregnant after being raped was to be stoned in accordance with the fundamentalist religious law in that part of Nigeria. What was probably a local tribal matter initially somehow managed to acquire the attention of just about the entire world. Even so, it took considerable pressure before the poo
  • by corebreech (469871) on Monday December 08, 2003 @10:30AM (#7659297) Journal
    Stay the fuck away from my Internet.

    That said...

    It might be nice to encourage people to use bittorrent to download porn. The bandwidth savings would be akin to quadrupling router capacity across the Net.

    Or, maybe fix email by requiring everybody to send ciphered messages only. Require/encourage mail servers to permit a user to provide it a gateway public/private key through which all incoming email must satisfy (not the same as your personal public/private key.) Solve spam and nine-tenths of Echelon with one single kick in the balls.

    Then, get over this self-inflicted trauma over raw sockets. Raw sockets are cool. Raw sockets + UDP can all but eliminate the nastier p2p problems, like how to work through firewalls, as well as how to send data anonymously. These are good things. Let good people do good things with good technology.

    But we can do all of these things through education. We don't need the UN/Geneva/Britney Spears to tell us how this whole thing should work.
    • by Hubert Q. Gruntley (310405) on Monday December 08, 2003 @10:56AM (#7659451)
      Agreed on most points.

      I'm not sure PKI needs to be part of the SPAM solution. Three reasons:
      1) The same clueless ficktwizzles that set up their mail servers as open relays (224K of them? according to ORDB.org [ordb.org]) will also be setting up their mail server certificates. No, this isn't fraught with peril.

      2) There isn't a black market (that I'm aware of, doh) of private keys. Client certificates are useless, server certificates are useless unless you also own the domain name, code signing certificates, well, um, yeah I guess those are dangerous. But we've seen the lengths spammers will go, and I can easily foresee a huge market for stolen certificates, if now every domain has one to send mail.

      3) The _last_ thing we need to do is get Verisign slobbering over using certificates for email. Over in the SPF discussion [listbox.com] mailing list there are Verisign people who want certificates in the DNS records published by SPF.
  • by astroview (105285) on Monday December 08, 2003 @10:31AM (#7659304)
    Check out the NYTimes article, it points out a bit of the criticism of the whole process.

    Link [nytimes.com] (reigstration req'd, blah blah)
  • Bad idea? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stry_cat (558859) on Monday December 08, 2003 @10:32AM (#7659305) Journal
    The goal of this phase is to adopt a "Declaration of Principles" and "Plan of Action".
    Seems like we're doing ok without this stuff.
    Some countries plan on asking for a UN commission to study new ways of running the Internet aimed at the 2005 phase.
    Am I the only one who thinks this is going to be a bad idea? It's like getting the government involved only there is no way for citizens to influence the policy.
    • Well, a centralized authority in control of the internet, while possibly restricting some current freedoms could make tremendous positive impacts in others. For example:

      Spam could be outlawed once and for all worldwide, with harsh penalties for violation.

      An international agreement of standards for content could bring freedom of information to places where there is a lack of information.

      Centralized taxation - an agreed upon method for providing revenue streams to the UN which would allow taxes to be paid

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 08, 2003 @11:13AM (#7659568)
        "Spam could be outlawed once and for all worldwide, with harsh penalties for violation."

        Should we apply Marxist solutions: gulags (Stalin), death farms (Cambodia) or rape camps (Serbia)?

        "An international agreement of standards for content could bring freedom of information to places where there is a lack of information"

        Yes. We know that government control always makes things more free!

        "Centralized taxation..."

        Yes. The greedy ruling class must get a cut!

        "Elimination of various objectively hateful websites from the internet, e.g., holocaust denial, neo-nazis, gun merchants"

        And, of course, left-wing hate sites (MLM, neo-soviets) all remain uncensored.
      • Re:Bad idea? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by pla (258480) on Monday December 08, 2003 @11:16AM (#7659588) Journal
        Well, a centralized authority in control of the internet, while possibly restricting some current freedoms could make tremendous positive impacts in others. For example:
        <snip>
        This doesn't sound all bad to me

        Or for a few more examples that appeal to various major world governments:

        • Outlaw the use of all "hard" cryptography.
        • Centralized taxation (Did you forget your meds this morning?????)
        • No more porn, or at least nothing hard-core
        • "Perfect" monitoring of all traffic, shared with all member governments
        • Extradition to, say, Syria, for exercising my American freedom of speech and religion

        Sorry, but this has a LOT more potential for a bad outcome than for improvement on the few flaws the internet currently has. Keep the governments (any or all, doesn't matter to me) the hell away from the net!
        • In a decentralised system (as the Internet is), there are only two possible ways for it to be properly regulated. Either:
          • Every national government agrees to the terms of the regulation.
          • The accepted protocol changes to allow for regulation by a single, central authority.

          Neither of these will happen. Under IPv4, there will always be regions that do not entirely comply with any given authority. Any protocol change would have to be universal for the latter case to occur. If a protocol provides for the

      • Re:Bad idea? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mrkurt (613936)

        1. Define "spam". What is "free speech" to some people might be defined by some despots as "spam".
        2. Define "hateful websites". See point #1, above.

        While your goals are laudable, the devil is in the details of their implementation on a global scale when many of the world's people live under governments that are not truly democratic and transparent. Centralized authority leads to great power vested in that authority, which leads to great potential for abuse. See my top-level comment about how the W [slashdot.org]

  • by musikit (716987) on Monday December 08, 2003 @10:32AM (#7659307)
    not really. considering it takes OUR government 10-20 years to recognize technology. i would say this is a rather fast turn around for a body of government set up by bodies of government.
  • Al Gore (Score:5, Funny)

    by pdjohe (575876) on Monday December 08, 2003 @10:34AM (#7659327)
    I heard they are going to make Al Gore in charge of the whole meeting.

    After all, he did create the thing, right? ;)
  • hunt down spammers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by m0rphin3 (461197) on Monday December 08, 2003 @10:35AM (#7659331)
    The best thing they can do is make it illegal for spammers to get safe harbor anywhere.
    Or, failing that, to make sure that spam only gets sent to the country of origin somehow. That would eliminate 90% of my spam, which is from the US.

    Probably it will only end up in another treaty the US will refuse to ratify, like Kyoto and the International Court of Justice.
    • by sulli (195030) * on Monday December 08, 2003 @10:52AM (#7659427) Journal
      Yes. But the best thing they can do is have a talkfest accomplishing nothing, like all the other UN world summits. As long as they issue some bland communique talking about how we need to make technology better for the children, that is fine. If the ITU tries to take over the internet, the US needs to shitcan that treaty faster than Kyoto.

      (If they don't like the internet, they can always build their own. I hear Minitel is a nice technology built by an ITU member.)

      • Yes. But the best thing they can do is have a talkfest accomplishing nothing, like all the other UN world summits. As long as they issue some bland communique talking about how we need to make technology better for the children, that is fine. If the ITU tries to take over the internet, the US needs to shitcan that treaty faster than Kyoto.

        Take a step back and ask yourself why many UN summits, debates and conferences, are only able to produce bland communiques. Answer? Because the UN is a forum of nation s
        • it's all about widening access and closing the digital divide that is a *big* problem in all nations

          If I understand correctly, "digital divide" is the buzzword used to refer to the fact that some people do not have internet access, right?

          How, exactly, is this really a problem? I mean, in any county? See, for a long time there wasn't an internet at all, and somehow life went on. Then just a relatively few people used the internet and, again, life went on. Now that a (relatively) large number of peo
    • by thrillseeker (518224) on Monday December 08, 2003 @11:02AM (#7659488)
      it will only end up in another treaty the US will refuse to ratify, like Kyoto and the International Court of Justice.

      The U.S. should rightfully continue to refuse to agree to any treaty that has not been shown to be in the best interests of the citizens of the U.S.

      • The U.S. should rightfully continue to refuse to agree to any treaty that has not been shown to be in the best interests of the citizens of the U.S

        Wait until NY comes below sea level. Then we'll see what is best for US citizens.

      • I'm alright Jack. How's your back?
      • by Telex4 (265980)
        The U.S. should rightfully continue to refuse to agree to any treaty that has not been shown to be in the best interests of the citizens of the U.S.

        Of course if you are so uneducated as to not know that treaties like Kyoto and the ICC, whilst not obviously in America's short term interests, are in fact in America's long term interests, you might say something so daft in the context of Kyoto and the ICC.

        Have a read about the prisoners' dilemma [stanford.edu] and you might see what I mean.
        • by thrillseeker (518224) on Monday December 08, 2003 @12:56PM (#7660321)
          Of course if you are so uneducated as to not know that treaties like Kyoto and the ICC, whilst not obviously in America's short term interests, are in fact in America's long term interests, you might say something so daft in the context of Kyoto and the ICC.

          Sigh.

          Why does your disagreement start with an insult? You have no idea of my educational level or experiences, and your instant reversion to an ad hominem attack doesn't do much to endear me to listen to any argument you might present. Isn't part of a good education learning how to argue a point like an adult, or should I just insult you back?

          The treaties that you are so enamored with may be viewed as of benefit to you or yours - but they have not been viewed as sufficiently beneficial to the citizens of the U.S. - or they would have been agreed to. Instead, they place the burden of cost on the U.S. with few perceived benefits.

          Kyoto would exempt "developing" nations - so in effect dirty manufacturing would end up moving to those places even faster because it would be cheaper - it would basically make such places (which I have visited in my professional, albiet uneducated life) even more unpleasant to live in - is that what you want to do to those poor countries to make yourself feel like you've "done something"?

          The ICC has already shown its true colors in attempting to charge various U.S. citizens for "warcrimes" in the U.S.-led action in Iraq - exactly to what advantage of the U.S. citizen is it if the U.S. would need to subjucate itself to such a body before taking actions it feels are necessary for its defense? Mother-May-I was a stupid children's game in the fist place - a sovereign nation certainly sholdn't play it.

          If the world scientific and political body can convince the administration of the U.S. that Kyoto or something like it will benefit the people of the U.S. above what it will cost, then the people of the U.S. will call for its adoption.

          Till then, piss off.

          • Kyoto would exempt "developing" nations - so in effect dirty manufacturing would end up moving to those places even faster because it would be cheaper - it would basically make such places (which I have visited in my professional, albiet uneducated life) even more unpleasant to live in - is that what you want to do to those poor countries to make yourself feel like you've "done something"?

            Kyoto would not exempt developing nations for the purpose of moving the polluting industries to these developing cou

            • Re:Let me respond (Score:3, Insightful)

              by cayenne8 (626475)
              "Kyoto would not exempt developing nations for the purpose of moving the polluting industries to these developing countries; Kyoto specifically states that pollution is a global problem that needs dealing with on a global scale. The exemption is made because of a) the costs of reducing pollution; developing nations simply can't afford it as long as they're in their developing stages;"

              And if this passes, what is to keep larger nations from setting up polluting factories in these developing nations? I think

            • Re:Let me respond (Score:3, Informative)

              by randyest (589159)
              Kyoto would not exempt developing nations for the purpose of moving the polluting industries to these developing countries;

              ....yet...

              The exemption is made because of a) the costs of reducing pollution; developing nations simply can't afford it as long as they're in their developing stages; and b) fairness; the polluters should pay to get their mess cleaned up.

              It doesn't matter why the exemptions were made, the fact remains that they were, and some people think that makes it stupid and decidedl
            • Re:Let me respond (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Matrix272 (581458)
              If your army attacks a sovereign nation without you being attacked by their army first, you're the agressor.

              Without taking one side or another, may I suggest that if I wanted to harm a sovereign nation without me being held accountable in a "war-crime court", I'd just hire some mercenaries to do the damage over and over again, then deny any knowledge of it. However, I'm also curious when Saddam Hussein will be brought to trial for his decades of torture and warcrimes against Kuwait in 1991.

              The problem
          • by sheldon (2322)
            "The ICC has already shown its true colors in attempting to charge various U.S. citizens for "warcrimes" in the U.S.-led action in Iraq - exactly to what advantage of the U.S. citizen is it if the U.S. would need to subjucate itself to such a body before taking actions it feels are necessary for its defense? Mother-May-I was a stupid children's game in the fist place - a sovereign nation certainly sholdn't play it. "

            Absolutely.

            Now if only the invasion of Iraq had had something to do with America's defens
        • by randyest (589159)
          Of course if you are so uneducated as to not know that treaties like Kyoto and the ICC, whilst not obviously in America's short term interests, are in fact in America's long term interests, you might say something so daft in the context of Kyoto and the ICC.

          You say that with such confidence that, if I didn't know better, I might actually buy it. Care to back up your claim that Kyoto and ICC "are in America's long term interests"? Or are you just trying to convince via confidence and namecalling?

          I, f
          • I admit my response was rather offhand and rudde; I was in a rut responding to people accusing the UN of having no worth. Not a great excuse, but anyway...

            Kyoto wasn't drafted with attacking US interests in mind. It was drafted to try to provide some piecemeal beginning to efforts to tackle climate change, and to manage that it just so happened that the world's biggest polluter was going to be hit the hardest, and that the nations least able to act now would be exempt, for the sake of getting some treaty t
            • Kyoto wasn't drafted with attacking US interests in mind.

              That's irrelevant. Attacking (primarily) US interests is what it does. The road to hell is paved with good intentions -- feel free to add a brick inscribed with the Kyoto treaty. It'll fit right in.

              You think it is good. Not everyone agrees. Stop stating your (relatively uninformed) opinions as facts; it's tiresome, and it makes me not want to listen to anything you say.

      • Just like our politicians refuse to do anything that isn't in the best interests of their constituency. Where there's a price, or the potential for substantive political gain, there's a way.
      • by Doug Neal (195160)
        The U.S. should rightfully continue to refuse to agree to any treaty that has not been shown to be in the best interests of the citizens of the U.S.

        Well it is in the interests of the rest of the world.

        But the USA don't give a fuck about anyone but the USA, do they? And why should they? They're doing just fine. To hell with everyone else. And that's your answer to the "why do you hate America" quip right here.

    • "Probably it will only end up in another treaty the US will refuse to ratify, like Kyoto..."

      I thought I noticed the other day that Russia wasn't wanting to sign on to Kyoto either...so, not just US.

  • UN/ITU Power Grab? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzybunny (112938) on Monday December 08, 2003 @10:36AM (#7659339) Homepage Journal

    There's an interesting article about this at El Reg [theregister.co.uk]. I'm pretty worried about what's going on there; for all the failing of ICANN, it's always been sort of emblematic of the prevailing idea in western countries to keep bureaucracy from throttling the Internet. Think what you will about various nations bad handling of Internet traffic and user rights, the over-corporatization of the net, and ICANN's distasteful tactics over domain handling; the Internet as we know it is a far cry from what it might have been had the ITU been allowed to be the driving force behind it.

    I don't relish the idea of the type of bureaucrat who brought us WIPO deciding by fiat where the greatest communications revolution in human history is going to go.
  • A little late? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shaper of Myths (148485) on Monday December 08, 2003 @10:36AM (#7659343)
    Isn't this the technological equivolent (time-wise) of the U.N. right now in 2003 trying to decide what to do about this 'Hitler' guy? To quote my favorite Vorlon: The avalanche has already started. It is too late for the pebbles to vote.

    But maybe I'm just pessimistic and jaded...=)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 08, 2003 @10:38AM (#7659358)
    Organizations like the UN, unaccountable by most means in their actions, will only try to leverage further control by government authorities to make sure we're all trackable and monitored for "appropriate behavior". Nothing good will come from this. Kiss the "free" anarchy-style of the Internet goodbye.
  • Such a bad idea. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Monday December 08, 2003 @10:38AM (#7659361) Journal
    I know others ahve already commented about this, but honestly what good can come from this? I don't want any part of the internet under UN control. Right now the internet is mostly apolitical and thats the way it should stay. I cannot believe this could lead to anything good.
    • by jxs2151 (554138) on Monday December 08, 2003 @11:07AM (#7659523) Homepage
      I don't want any part of the internet under UN control.

      I find it hilarious that the same Slashdot crew that was screaming for UN control of the Iraq situation now wants nothing to do with the UN when it comes to the Internet. Seems to me the desire for the UN to intervene was mere anti-Bush propganda.

      Changing your position when it suits you is intellectually dishonest and is known as hypocrisy. Have the balls to hold your position.

      The UN has no business in anything. Intelligent people can look at their track record and come to the conclusion that they are more fucked up than a football bat.

      • Iraq: a soveriegn body thrown into a state of anarchy by a sudden, violent overthrow of it's psychotic government. Individuals go from absolute, ironfisted rule to none. Result is potentially disastrous. U.N.'s role would be an enormous boon to keeping the peace and helping to manage this sudden situation since the idiots that overthrew the government didn't bother to plan past the end of the military operation.

        Interent (post mil control): a technological marvel that began in a destabilized anarchist state

        • Iraq: a soveriegn body thrown into a state of anarchy by a sudden, violent overthrow of it's psychotic government.

          Yeah ... and like it wasn't violent for the last 30 years or so... even less than it is today, as a matter of fact. Not that you'll ever find the facts because most of the paperwork was burned by Saddam's henchmen. You'll probably find the hundreds of thousands of bodies [foxnews.com] though. Good luck. Let me know how that works out for ya.
          • Re:Such a bad idea. (Score:3, Informative)

            by sheldon (2322)
            Where were the Republicans when Al Gore and Jesse Helms pushed for the End Genocide Act of 1988?

            President Reagan threatened to veto it, so it didn't pass in the House.

            I find this hypocrisy rather disgusting.
      • by bjhonermann (568326)
        "Seems to me the desire for the UN to intervene was mere anti-Bush propganda."

        The desire to have the UN involved in Iraq is to make the invasion have some resemblance of legitimacy. To make it clear that this occupation isn't about the United States' ego and that it really is about helping Iraqi citizens. The inclusion of the UN could go a long way towards repairing the damage already done to the US's image and towards stopping the attacks on US soldiers happening every day. What do we stand to lose?

        Added
        • Re:Such a bad idea. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jxs2151 (554138)
          ...to make the invasion have some resemblance of legitimacy.

          Please explain to me how an unelected body composed of a majority of countries governed by dictators can grant anything legitimacy?

          Good try though....

          ...the damage already done to the US's image

          If the US made decisions based on how it "affected our image" the world would have long ago descended into brutal dictatorial chaos, while we sat on the sidelines wringing our hands worries about "our image"

          Tut, tut

      • Changing your position when it suits you is intellectually dishonest and is known as hypocrisy. Have the balls to hold your position.

        Nah, what you talk about is not "changing position when it suits you", it's called having the intelligence to judge a situation, and not blindly say "I'm ok with UN, whatever they say, because that's my camp". That's what all those pesky politicians do all the time you know, they'd never agree that the other camp has a point. That's childish.

        I was for UN control of the
      • Re:Such a bad idea. (Score:2, Informative)

        by Lost Race (681080)

        I find it hilarious that the same Slashdot crew that was screaming

        "The same Slashdot crew"? You mean that monolithic, lock-step hive mind that posts millions of messages under hundreds of thousands of different names -- including, for example, yours? You find it hilarious that you (The Slahdot Crew) screamed about one thing then later screamed about something contrary? OK, I guess we agree that is pretty funny. That is, if "we" can really be considered to "agree" on anything, since you and I aren't

      • "Changing your position when it suits you is intellectually dishonest and is known as hypocrisy. Have the balls to hold your position. "

        Ok, I firmly believe that the UN should be engaged in both Iraq and the Internet.

        "The UN has no business in anything. "

        The UN provides the basis for International Law, the ability for countries to come together and formulate treaties explaining how they shall treat one another. I see no other UN involvement in the Internet other than that, but it is a necessary level cr
  • by mikesab (652105) on Monday December 08, 2003 @10:46AM (#7659398)
    Since the U.N. is inherently a governing entity, it will invariably feel the need to regulate everything it can. It is in its very nature to regulate. They even managed to throw in the word "solidarity". Every time I hear that word, my ears perk up.
    • The UN is most assuredly not a governing entity. Government is a right granted by the people. I granted them nothing, not even indirectly, therefore they are not a governing body- a debating society perhaps but certainly not a governing body.
  • by tds67 (670584)
    I can't wait until the first Information Minister is elected.

    And it will probably be Darl McBribe.

    • by Mohammed Al-Sahaf (665285) on Monday December 08, 2003 @11:01AM (#7659482)
      Do not believe the lies my friend. There is only one man for this job. Make no mistake, when I am made Minister of the Information Society the blood of the spammers will flow like wine. Our low price septic tanks will be full of the corpses of the armies of slaughtered spammers. We shall strike them down like the dogs they are. They are superpower of villains. They are superpower of Al Capone. And we shall destroy them.
  • analysis (Score:5, Funny)

    by theMerovingian (722983) on Monday December 08, 2003 @10:53AM (#7659433) Journal

    The goal of this phase is to adopt a "Declaration of Principles" and "Plan of Action".

    Person 1: Sounds like it was created by an MBA.

    Person 2: Actually, it was a committee.

    Person 1: OK, a committee of MBA's.

    Person 2: A committee of MBA's who work for the government!

    Both: (run away and hide under cubicles)

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Monday December 08, 2003 @10:58AM (#7659470) Homepage Journal
    Sorry, but they can't manage anything. The United Nations is a failed idea looking for relevance. Unfortunately anything they take over becomes a mockery of what it is supposed to.

    Worse, the UN routinely caves into member states that are notorious violators of human rights. What good can from an organization that has human rights committees comprised of brutal dictatorships? Of disarnament committees run by the same?

    Sorry, a UN managed internet would simply give certain 3rd world countries (and some European) a new means to bash or otherwise attempt to restrict prospering Western countries. It would advance anti-Jewish attitudes, probably going as far as to restrict Israel! China would be given free reign to threaten Tiawan and run ramshackle over tibet. Can you imagine what these nations would want to classify as SPAM?

    No thank you. ICANN might be annoying but at least we can lay hands on them
    • by Telex4 (265980) on Monday December 08, 2003 @11:23AM (#7659640) Homepage
      Sorry, but they can't manage anything. The United Nations is a failed idea looking for relevance.

      Right, so you've nothing to say on UNESCO, UNHCR, IPCC and goodness knows how many other good things the UN does that are fantastic and absolutely necessary. You just don't mention them because many media outlets, out of ignorance and a desire to criticise, have got an obsession with claiming the UN is worthless.

      Worse, the UN routinely caves into member states that are notorious violators of human rights. What good can from an organization that has human rights committees comprised of brutal dictatorships? Of disarnament committees run by the same?

      Do you know why? Think for the moment of what the UN is: a forum for governments. Maybe the failure of the UN to really tackle human rights issues is because the governments in the UN, and in particular in the security council, deliberately skirt around human rights and try not to get too many legally binding documents through that would kill off their own industries. Hello UK, USA, France, Germany, Russia, etc. The problem with the UN in this regard is that its member states can be so damn hypocritical.

      Sorry, a UN managed internet would simply give certain 3rd world countries (and some European) a new means to bash or otherwise attempt to restrict prospering Western countries. It would advance anti-Jewish attitudes, probably going as far as to restrict Israel! China would be given free reign to threaten Tiawan and run ramshackle over tibet. Can you imagine what these nations would want to classify as SPAM?

      Wow. Evidence? Does the UN routinely "bash" Israel? It passes motions condemning its human rights abuses, just as it does for all human rights abusers, but it is hardly anti-semitic. The only people who claim that are those who simply cannot discern the difference between anti-Semitism and 'anti-Israeli-Governments'-policy-ism'. It's like all the 'anti-American' nonsense.

      I'm worried about what the WSIS will come up with too, but let's at least be rational about this, rather than sensationalising ignorant nosense!
    • by Tom (822)
      What good can from an organization that has human rights committees comprised of brutal dictatorships?

      How serious would they take an organization that only allows the nice-and-dandy in? This is a planet-wide organization, they have to give everyone a say, and that especially includes the ones that everyone else would rather see silenced.

      would simply give certain [countries] a new means to bash or otherwise attempt to restrict prospering Western countries.

      So far, every time I read the actual protocols,
      • You do realize that the only reason ICANN has any power is that people choose to listen to them, right? If you don't WANT to listen to ICANN, you don't actually HAVE to. They may be annoying, but if they ever got truly out of line and pissed off the majority of the Internet community, that majority would simply turn their backs to them and leave them to wither away like a memory of a bad dream.

      • This is getting pretty far afield, and I fully expect to be modded into hell as a "troll" for not expressing the required ultra-liberal U.S.-bashing attitudes, but here goes anyway...

        it more looked like these "certain countries" wanted something like a share of the prospering

        Ok, for one, NO. That's not what the superparent was talking about. But more to the point, this kind of statement is precisely why conservatives say liberals are brain-dead. (No I am not a conservative.) It utterly ignores economic r

        • All well and good, but "brutal dictatorships" does not explain every problem that leads to imporverished nations. Other common problems include famine caused by weather, poor agricultural processes, and overpopulation. Infighting is also a popular problem where rebels smash, burn, and pillage things and the government does the same.

          Of course, there is also the problem of developed nations evilly usurping pieces of the magic pie. The whole game of cat and mouse with subsidies and tarriffs, etc. is used t

          • Of course, there is also the problem of developed nations evilly usurping pieces of the magic pie.

            Did you even read the post to which you just replied? If so, yo missed the point: There is no magic pie !

            The whole game of cat and mouse with subsidies and tarriffs, etc. is used to keep rich industrial giants rich at the expense of people in other countries that can perform that same work cheaper

            Yep big conspiracy to keep the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. It's always been tha
    • Sorry, a UN managed internet would simply give certain 3rd world countries (and some European) a new means to bash or otherwise attempt to restrict prospering Western countries. It would advance anti-Jewish attitudes, probably going as far as to restrict Israel! China would be given free reign to threaten Tiawan and run ramshackle over tibet. Can you imagine what these nations would want to classify as SPAM?

      Sorry, but am I the only one who identifies this as flaimbait?

      What gives occidental countries

      • Sorry, but am I the only one who identifies this as flaimbait?

        Yes.

        What gives occidental countries a greater right to speech over other cultures?


        Right is right -- who said this? I don't see it in this thread, even in implied form.

        The West may have the power to impose their views upon others, but does this power legitimize imposing their views?


        What the fuck is "imposing a view?" -- if we think something is right (such as the UN keeping the hell away from the net), should we just shut up a
    • Sorry, a UN managed internet would simply give certain 3rd world countries (and some European) a new means to bash or otherwise attempt to restrict prospering Western countries. It would advance anti-Jewish attitudes, probably going as far as to restrict Israel! China would be given free reign to threaten Tiawan and run ramshackle over tibet. Can you imagine what these nations would want to classify as SPAM?

      This is insightful? I know a lot of people don't like the UN or Europe for that matter. But this i
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 08, 2003 @11:04AM (#7659497)
    The most promising and interesting for us is the thematic Working Group (WG) dealing with Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks (P.C.T) and related issues, within the framework of the Civil Society.

    See the website of this group at http://www.wsis-pct.org/ [wsis-pct.org]

    The Working Group is holding a workshop "Free Software, Free Society [fsfeurope.org]" with a group of top speakers, including Richard Stallman [stallman.org], founder of the GNU Project, and Lawrence Lessig [lessig.org].

  • by Hesperus (16733) on Monday December 08, 2003 @11:07AM (#7659521) Homepage
    I'm a programmer working at the W.H.O., which is just down the road from the exibition hall, so I've been looking at the schedule to see what events might be interesting or useful to attend.

    Looks like a lot of local linux users (see G.U.L.L [linux-gull.ch]) are planning to attend at least the panel with Larry Lessig and RMS on Wednesday. RMS is also speaking on Thursday.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 08, 2003 @11:12AM (#7659561)
    Why do developing nations need the Internet?

    Isn't that putting the cart before the horse...

    By definition maybe what they really need is heavy infrastructure development?

    Giving bushmen WWW access isn't going to help any nation develop.
    • The bushmen are in Australia, which last I looked has pretty good net access. Most bushmen with net access use wireless, of course, so that it doesn't compromise their nomadic lifestyle. There's not much point in talking about "giving" them access, as, as a group, they have their own funds, which the Australian government is pretty much constrained to use as the bushmen decide.

      There are really three classes here - the industrial nations, the developing nations, and the not developing nations. The "truly st
  • by da3dAlus (20553)
    Possible dupe (from Friday), but interesting nonetheless.
    http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/03/12/05/1447255.shtml ?tid=95 [slashdot.org]
  • by Wolfbone (668810) on Monday December 08, 2003 @11:17AM (#7659592)
    I notice that none of the articles mentioned the opposition to the corrupt way the WSIS has banned various interest groups and fudged their Declaration of Principles and Action Plan so as not to offend the mighty corporate interests who don't like the ideas of freedom of information and basic human rights.

    This summit is a betrayal of it's original ideals, and especially of the World's poor. Various groups are intending to strongly oppose this travesty; there is more information and here. [indymedia.org.uk]

    • This summit is a betrayal of it's original ideals, and especially of the World's poor.

      I'm sorry, but Free Internet For The Poor(tm) != cure for world poverty. When will people realize that the #1 root cause of poverty on a worldwide scale is corrupt despotic governments? So long as WSIS panders to the likes if Infidel Castro (who attended the summit in person), there will be no solution to poverty that univeral Internet access will solve. If the U.N. was serious about enacting their "Millenium Declarat
  • by rumblin'rabbit (711865) on Monday December 08, 2003 @11:19AM (#7659605) Journal
    Under "What values should underlie the foundations of the information society", WSIS says this: "The universal human values of equality, and justice, democracy, solidarity, mutual tolerance, human dignity, economic progress, protection of the environment, and respect for diversity are the foundations for a truly inclusive global information society."

    Where oh where is freedom of expression in all this? Or is that too much of a threat to the organizations sponsering this summit?

  • by jdfox (74524) on Monday December 08, 2003 @11:20AM (#7659613)
    WSIS might sound like a boring bureaucratic exercise, but there's a strong chance that governments are going to walk away from it with new international agreements in their pockets to pass laws in their own countries restricting the free flow of information.

    Quoting the "WSIS? We Seize!" press release:

    'While the official agenda of this UN/ITU Summit talks about "free access to information", "the digital divide" and "equality of opportunities", in reality its doors are closed, its discussions exclusive and the agendas of those who attend it concealed. What's more, the right to demonstrate and protest has been suspended in Geneva at this time, as the usual parade of despots and tyrants fly in to Switzerland to define policy for their own citizens, and the rest of the world, based on the agendas of corporate multinationals, media conglomerates and infrastructure owners.

    Geneva03 [geneva03.org] is a temporary network of groups and individuals set up to carry out agitational, educational and communications work during both the G8 and the WSIS. Geneva03 considers it critical to show, during such a display of media power and control, that independent groups and people have the ability to create their own media, to share media, self publish, build networks and communicate freely and autonomously. That's why we've titled our events during this time WSIS? WE SEIZE! We do not consider that negotiation and supplication before the altar of the UN will produce information autonomy for all. Instead, we are taking our autonomy now, using the means and technologies at our disposal: the Internet, peer to peer networks, Free and Open Source Software, community wireless infrastructures, pirate television and radio and streamed media. Beyond questions of communications technology, We Seize! seeks to open a wide-ranging discussion on the new social conditions that constitute today's world about which the WSIS has little or nothing to say: media concentration, expansive intellectual property regimes, casualised and immaterial labour and migration.

    We insist that this urge to speak, to hear and be heard, is irrepressible. The Geneva03 group returns to Geneva following major attempts at repression during the G8 this year, in which the group were targetted by police whilst running an independent media centre. No charges were brought against the group, because - whatever the establishment would like us to believe - it is still lawful to freely express ourselves. We must, however, continue to exercise this ability, to expand and test it in diverse situations, if we are not to lose the freedom and potential that defines us as people.

    Communication, language and information are essential to understanding both control and liberation in this new millenium. They are simultaneously the site of the most repressive and totalitarian suppression and disciplining we have seen since the 1950s and, we believe, the basis of a powerful, growing autonomous movement. Ultimately this movement must cut to the very heart of communication: for what we are able to articulate, we are able to create. We must speak of a new world without fear, and with all the creativity, energy and commitment we can find.'

    (end quote)

    If you want to know more, here are some useful links:

    Good background article on Indymedia Global [indymedia.org]

    WSIS? We Seize! [geneva03.org]

    The World Forum on Communication Rights [communicationrights.org]

    Polimedia Lab [hubproject.org]

    Civil Society news centre for the WSIS [prepcom.net]

    Indymedia UK WSIS 2003 section [indymedia.org.uk]
  • This worries me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bendebecker (633126) on Monday December 08, 2003 @11:24AM (#7659651) Journal
    Let's face it, if we had a cent for every IQ point our leaders have, the sum total of our entire government wouldn't be enough to buy a happy meal at McDonald's. That being said, do we really want to trust these people with determining the best policies for the system???
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Monday December 08, 2003 @11:30AM (#7659704) Homepage Journal
    New rules:

    1 - No individual anonymity
    2 - No free speech for individuals
    3 - No national information sovereignty.
    4 - Taxation to pay for enforcement of the new rules
    5 - Jails to house all the new criminals.

    • by globalar (669767) on Monday December 08, 2003 @01:32PM (#7660603) Homepage
      "1 - No individual anonymity"
      "2 - No free speech for individuals"

      I am no political theorist, but I think that individual rights found a free society, physical or virtual. The very fact that there are no distinct laws on the Internet as a whole, anonymity is possible to an extent, free speech is rampant, etc. are all positive things (ultimately). I feel we have all benefited from this kind of freedom that really is not possible (currently) in the physical world.

      Maybe we cannot have everything we want in a government or the UN, but the Internet seems a lot more ideal to myself as it is. Sure there are spammers, crackers, con-artists, and all sorts of bad things. But is regular society free of these? No, but on the Internet we can band together, share information, and fight these elements as a community. In our physical society, every one of our freedom's requires overhead to protect and is constantly threatened by the system itself. On the Internet, the system may not promote our freedom (I guess you could argue either way there), but it has few controls. What seems remarkable to me is that the Internet can still be friendly and even great - all without conventional government control.

      I think the majority of people (anywhere in the world) have already made a lot compromises about their physical society and freedoms. I hate to think we ever really have to make similar ones in our virtual society. Its far from ideal, but its there and I think it has a lot to do with our future.
  • by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Monday December 08, 2003 @11:59AM (#7659874) Journal
    I read the Draft "Plan of Action" availible. It reads a lot like a polictical document. The scary part is the one about the un taking over control of the internet, but it mostly says that everyone should have access to the internet and it should be geared towards all languages and cultures.

    Thats great, but I think the UN should be focused on oh I don't know .. giving starving people food and water. That seems like a higher priority than internet access. Furthermore, one of the questions in the Faq is "Will one language or culture takeover the information society?" The answer says that we should encourage people to provide content in all languages. First of all, I think Internet is already heavily US centric perhaps because it was originally its network. Secondly, that is a pipe dream just like everything else in the summit.
  • All the UN needs to know about spam is right here [cashncarrion.co.uk]. >:-)
  • by Raven42rac (448205) on Monday December 08, 2003 @12:42PM (#7660214)
    Are you sure there are 192 nations participating, and not 192.168 nations? What about the 10.x or the 169.254 nations you insensitive clods?
    • > Are you sure there are 192 nations participating, and not 192.168 nations? What about the 10.x or the 169.254 nations you insensitive clods?

      Someone call the WTO! I'm a 192.168 nation! And those bastards in the rest of the world have embargoed me from trading with anyone but 10.x and 169.254 nations! End the blockade now! To the firewalls, mes amis!

  • html (Score:5, Funny)

    by loconet (415875) on Monday December 08, 2003 @12:43PM (#7660219) Homepage
    They should start by banning frontpage as a tool to create webpages. Yes that would mean they'll have to recode their official website as well

  • no credibility... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hakalugi (162528) on Monday December 08, 2003 @01:16PM (#7660467)
    "...Carlos Achiary, national director of Information Technology Argentina, said many governments are frustrated because the Internet is having a tremendous effect in their countries, but they have no place to submit their requests, complaints or suggestions...." /dev/null anyone?

    I have family living in B.A. - I visited Arg. for a few weeks last November. After looking at miles of black and white marble columns and hand-worked wrought-iron that enclosed their WATER PROCESSING PLANT in B.A. - I felt no pity for the bureaucrats at this service arm who now cry poor. The unabashed "we are Euro, ergo better than the rest of [south] America, so let's have palacial water plants..." The whole place was shocking. (parts beautiful, yes) But the officials I met.... inept, corrupt, nepitistic, backwards - maybe they should get their house in order before looking to "suggest" some of their 'winning insight' to the rest of us.

    (did you hear about the folks of B.A. suing a new (chilean owned) utility that, after months of written warnings removed the power-leacher-wires from the poles? Yep, they had the audacity to sue the company for cutting them off b/c they'd tapped in illegally. It's still in the courts, the folks there think "it is our right to have electricity" - just as it is this guys' "right" to have a say on riding coat-tails.)

    build something, contribute, dont' back-street drive.

  • by NilsK (74600) on Monday December 08, 2003 @01:20PM (#7660503) Homepage
    Heise.de has an article about the interetaccess on this conference: http://www.heise.de/newsticker/data/jk-08.12.03-00 6/ (in german). The main info: Internetaccess for participants on this conference will cost about 128Euro. Participants from the third world, already having problems to bring up the money to attend, might not be able to afford the Internetaccess on the "World Summit on the Information Society". An attendee from Bulgaria mentioned that in Bulgaria this is about the amount of money you have to live from ... for two months.

    Nils
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Every time I hear about another organization taking it upon themselves to do some global rule-making, I can't help wondering: from whence do these organizations derive their authority? I didn't vote for these people. I don't even know who they are.

    Yes, I know. Sovereign nations have engaged in international diplomacy, treaty signing and the like since time immemorial. I still question the authority of those who would make rules without being elected.

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