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Showdown Set On Bid To Give UN Control of Internet 316

Posted by samzenpus
from the taking-the-wheel dept.
wiredmikey writes "When delegates gather in Dubai in December for an obscure UN agency meeting, the mother of all cyber diplomatic battles is expected, with an intense debate over proposals to rewrite global telecom rules to effectively give the United Nations control over the Internet. Russia, China and other countries back a move to place the Internet under the authority of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a UN agency that sets technical standards for global phone calls. While US officials have said placing the Internet under UN control would undermine the freewheeling nature of cyberspace, some have said there is a perception that the US owns and manages the Internet. The head of the ITU, Hamadoun Toure, claims his agency has 'the depth of experience that comes from being the world's longest established intergovernmental organization.' But Harold Feld of the US-based non-government group Public Knowledge said any new rules could have devastating consequences. Some are concerned over a proposal by European telecom operators seeking to shift the cost of communication from the receiving party to the sender. This could mean huge costs for US Internet giants like Facebook and Google."
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Showdown Set On Bid To Give UN Control of Internet

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  • On the one hand... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by serviscope_minor (664417) on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:20AM (#41803881) Journal

    On the one hand, we have the US and the insanity over copyright who randomly takes a small number of domains off line with no due process.

    and...

    On the other hand we have the rest of the world, who, to a greater or lesser extent take a large number of domains off line with no due process because of various censorship requirements.

    I'm not American, but keeping the internet under the control of the US is far better than the alternative.

    If you disagree, tell me one country which would do a better job. And then tell me how much influence they'd have over the ITU.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:27AM (#41803973)

      ...tell me one country which would do a better job...

      That right there is your problem. The truth is that NO ONE WANTS ANY COUNTRY TO CONTROL THE INTERNET. PERIOD.

      What people want for the internet is a persistent stateless anarchy, with no oversight or governence.

      I disagree with you because I don't want either in control, to be honest.

      In true internet fashion, I refute BOTH of your options, and write in my own.

      • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:43AM (#41804139) Journal

        So, the question becomes: How do we protect ourselves from these people to make sure nobody gets control, including our service providers, who can at ant moment cut us off completely?

        • Pretty sure your service providers will always be able to cut you off.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by fustakrakich (1673220)

            Exactly, so we need to make them obsolete. Mesh networks will probably do it, but they still aren't ready for prime time. But we have to start somewhere..

            • Mesh networks won't work worth a damn in the US.

              Maybe in the metros and suburbs, but that's only about half of the population.

              • by Randle_Revar (229304) <kelly.clowers@gmail.com> on Monday October 29, 2012 @01:47PM (#41807509) Homepage Journal

                that's only about half of the population

                http://www.theatlanticcities.com/neighborhoods/2012/03/us-urban-population-what-does-urban-really-mean/1589/ [theatlanticcities.com]

                80.7 percent of the U.S. population lived in urban areas as of the 2010 Census, a boost from the 79 percent counted in 2000

                For the 2010 count, the Census Bureau has defined 486 urbanized areas, accounting for 71.2 percent of the U.S. population. The 3,087 urban clusters account for 9.5 percent of the U.S. population.

                The L.A.-Long Beach-Santa Ana metropolitan area has the highest population density, with 6,999.3 people per square mile. Hickory, North Carolina, has the lowest, with 811.1 people per square mile.

                So 71 percent of Americans live in areas with a density of at least 800 people/sq. mi. Another 9.5 percent are in "urban clusters" which are much smaller and go down in density as low as 360 people/sq. mi. (though some are very dense). That doesn't sound at all like "only about half the population".

                Though I don't know if there are any studies showing the cut-off effects of density on mesh networks.

            • by dmbasso (1052166)

              +1 (I'm out of mod points atm).

              Lots of wireless accesspoints using whatever internet connections available from the usual providers, turning them into dumb pipes. If one decides to do something stupid, it is easy to disconnect it.

              This comes with the necessity of a strong crypto layer, to avoid inspecting by all the intermediate parties. We probably already have all the technology required for such a system. The only thing missing is the social initiative (which includes the initial funding).

        • So, the question becomes: How do we protect ourselves from these people to make sure nobody gets control, including our service providers, who can at ant moment cut us off completely?

          If you still support power structures where one man or group of men can 'legitimately' use force to make another man do his bidding, then stop doing so.

          Yeah, yeah, yeah, "but *I* only want to force other people to do good things!" That's what they all say, and think. The FTC, the ITU, the UN, the OAS, et. al.

          In the meantime,

        • by jopsen (885607) <jopsen@gmail.com> on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:52AM (#41805231) Homepage

          So, the question becomes: How do we protect ourselves from these people to make sure nobody gets control, including our service providers, who can at ant moment cut us off completely?

          Give it to the UN, they'll never agree on anything, nothing will change and the internet remains free :)

          • by DigiShaman (671371) on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:12PM (#41805653) Homepage

            Bullshit! They will all agree on national content filtering and make it treating binding for the rest of us.

            What is more evil than evil? It goes by the name of the UN!

            • by cayenne8 (626475) on Monday October 29, 2012 @04:04PM (#41809699) Homepage Journal
              The UN?

              Geez, that clusterfuck of an organization pretty much fails at anything it is currently mandated to do....and we want to give it MORE control, by giving it control of the internet?? Seriously?

              It is corrupt and ineffective now...I'd certainly not want to give it control of one of our most precious possessions of the people of the world.

              The mere statements by the current head of the UN and one of his immediate underlings, suggesting that some forms of speech should not be 'free' (as in someone putting down a religion of some sort)....immediately rejects them as possible steward over the internet.

              If the internet was to be coming into existance now..do you think it would have a snowballs chance in hell as being as free and 'wild' as it has been? Where everyone can hook a computer to it and become a PEER...that you can join with no license, say whatever you want to say and get away with it anonymously?

              I think not...and the UN and countries inside it, will work towards those goals.

              The internet and the freedom of expression it gives, is something that came up under all govt's radar...and they'd love nothing more than to put the genie back into the bottle.

              The governments pushing for this type of move of control, is their first step in trying to control that genie post-release.

      • by Shavano (2541114) on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:45AM (#41804167)
        I think you're mistaken. I think every country wants to control the internet and very many people (certainly not the Chinese and others who live in Oppression States) would rather see their own country control it than a foreign entity.
      • by Enonu (129798) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:00AM (#41804393)

        You write in your own, but you don't acknowledge the hierarchical DNS system which has a root managed by the IANA, a department of ICANN, based in Los Angeles, CA. Without providing a secure, non-centralized (those two tend to contradict each other) alternative to DNS, which every country in the world can agree to use as a replacement, your proposal can't go anywhere.

      • by elloGov (1217998) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:00AM (#41804395)

        NO ONE WANTS ANY COUNTRY TO CONTROL THE INTERNET. PERIOD. What people want for the internet is a persistent stateless anarchy, with no oversight or governence.

        For the most part I agree agree with you in sentiment. However, there are those who want to control the internet, specifically governments and multi-national corporations whose sole business is built on IP and corporations who want even greater control over the physical infrastructure they currently maintain. With the dawn of something precious comes the vultures who want all of it under their control. This is mankind's nature. Through fear, propaganda, lobbying and sometimes force these vultures will eventually get their way. Cyber-attacks, piracy, SOPA, lack of bandwith, child pornography, ... It's all power grab.

        Cyber-attacks - The door of company/gov't entity A was open and thieves stole X amount of value, therefore, everyone should send in their keys so we can protect you all, or better yet, we'll build one big door out front and decide who gets to come in and who does not. FUCK YOU, fix your security holes

        Piracy - We push digital formats of IP that we own into the public domain with insufficient security and oversight. We are neither going to acknowledge our short-comings in protecting our IP nor are we going to adapt to the changing times and seek out new creative outlets for our products (i.e. rock band), instead we are going to lobby hard for the uber-privilege of regulating all content on the world wide web. FUCK YOU either evolve or don't publish your IP if you can't protect it.

        In both of these instances, their fault is spun into request for greater control through fear (economical and national security). I draw a clear distinction between regulation of content and infrastructure. I too wish the internet to remain a "persistent stateless anarchy", however, there needs to be regulation and oversight of infrastructure, NOT content, when appropriate; i.e. detect/protect against DOS attacks, DNS spoofing, etc... But don't tell me what content I can consume and what content I can't.

        Like you, I refuse the choose the lesser of the two evils.

        • by Synerg1y (2169962) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:26AM (#41804803)

          Hacking probably isn't even the biggest threat on the internet, it's fraud, probably followed by something crazy like human trafficking : why CL requires you to have an account now. The problem is that governments want control over the internet in entirety, every last packet. While this may work for China & Iran because they control such things as the media & speech, the internet is right along those lines, but the problem is the rest of us, there's not a camera on every street corner (sorry UK), there's not a phone tap on every citizen, so why should the internet be controlled in such a manner? Most plans for the internet tend to incorporate something along the lines of such control. Having said that, in my opinion, we should let the internet control itself and treat crimes on it on a per case basis just like we do with everything else.

      • by poetmatt (793785)

        This is the only correct option. Truth be told, either one group (ITU) or the other (US) is going to have to accept this, because the public is sending clear signals they will accept no less than complete and total lack of control.

        • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:08AM (#41804537) Journal
          Unfortunately, history shows that the public ... will accept a lot of shit, especially if it is tracked into their living room one dirty shoe-full at a time. They only get upset if you ask them "would you like some crap on your carpet?". So, nobody is going to ask them.
          • by elloGov (1217998) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:19AM (#41804685)
            This is very true. A working man/woman simply doesn't have the time and resources and has much more to risk to dissent over such matters. More importantly, fear is the reason of not challenging such abuse of personal liberty. As civilized as we are, we all know deep down that if we dissent enough, we'll be dealt with, ultimately by force.
          • by poetmatt (793785)

            Umm, SOPA/PIPA? Public has started to make it's voice heard a bit - even if people are completely ignorant on a lot of things.

      • That right there is your problem. The truth is that NO ONE WANTS ANY COUNTRY TO CONTROL THE INTERNET. PERIOD.

        Quite so.

        But the thing is that someone has to have some kind of control, since if people don't agree on the basics then it doesn't interoperate.

        Given that the US is (IMO) better than every single other country in the world, I don't see how a collection of countries would be better. Especially as it would include extremely censorship-happy countries like china.

        In true internet fashion, I refute BOTH o

      • What people want for the internet is a persistent stateless anarchy, with no oversight or governence.

        Baloney, they want governance that's driven by the network operators. Or don't you think backbone providers should agree on peering arrangements, BGP carriage, etc.? The network operators work for their customers, so what people really want is customer regulation.

        I think this is probably what you meant, but it's important to not play loose with the terms - those gaps are where States and NGO's sneak into t

      • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:26AM (#41804811)

        The truth is that NO ONE WANTS ANY COUNTRY TO CONTROL THE INTERNET. PERIOD.

        Wrong! Every government wants *their* country to control the internet.

        Period.

      • by BeanThere (28381) on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:21PM (#41805813)

        The UN isn't "no country", it's the governments of a bunch of actual countries ... FTA, this sentence cuts to the core here: "Observers say a number of authoritarian states will back the move". What this effectively is, is an attempt by immoral governments to forcibly assert power and control over private networks.

      • by rs79 (71822)

        That works. But we'll need to replace the DNS as it's a hierarchy and guess who has the top slot?

        But...

        Two problems with this plan as presented in TFA: 1) it's physically impossible 2) they lack any authority to do so. What really happens is they may decide to do it then every country has to agree. The US will not. Nor will it ever. And it holds all the cars. The UN and ITU, can, as always, go fuck themselves.

        They've been trying this for 17 years now; the ITU who used to coordinate analog phone voltages acr

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:28AM (#41803975)

      If you disagree, tell me one country which would do a better job.

      Iran. Then we could stop allowing blasphemy against the great prophet and Allah.

    • by Xest (935314) on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:31AM (#41804001)

      I don't think you understand the way the ITU works, despite the fact it's been covered here many times now. Part the problem is as in the summary here a muddying of waters on the issue. For example, the threat of European telecomms operators has nothing to do with the UN taking over the internet as said law relates to the underlying telephony equipment and how charges are handled at that level. This is already something in the remit of the ITU, so has little relevance to an ITU takeover of say, ICANN's responsibilities.

      As has been pointed out here before many times, the ITU works on consensus and as such the only way the European proposal could pass anyway is if the US supports it.

      The reason I believe ITU control would be better than the status quo is quite simple - I believe that 193 vetoes (including the US') are a better safeguard against the passing of controversal changes to the internet, than simply relying on the US only to forever do the right thing.

      It's a simple question as to whether it's better to have a single dictator determining some policy, or having unanimous support for a policy from near 200 people - I know which I'd rather put more faith in in ensuring the fairest option to all is chosen, and it's not the single point of failure option, but hands down the option that requires all 193 points of failure to fail, something that's unlikely to happen nad is inherently better anyway, when you consider that one of the 193 points of failure that has to fail is the single point of failure in the other option itself.

      • by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:34AM (#41804041) Journal

        The US is the devil we know. It isn't perfect but by and large it leaves the Internet alone. The UN has this predilection for, quite frankly, giving very repugnant regimes equal say with democracies.

        Leave it where it is.

        • by Xest (935314) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:02AM (#41804437)

          You do know what the word "unanimity" means right? If not then go look it up and then come back and see why your post makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

          It means every single member nation would have to vote on an issue for it to pass, including the US. For the ITU to change against this requirement of unanimity it would also in itself require a unanimous vote.

          As such, how would said repugnant regimes subvert the process exactly? The only way your view makes sense is if they can gain support of the US, but if that happens other countries can still veto. How is that worse than the status quo exactly where if said repugnant regimes can win over the US, then can do so currently anyway without the safeguard of other nations?

          The only downside of unanimity is that it can make processes of change slow, but as I think the internet is best left to evolve naturally anyway I'm not sure in the context of the internet that that's a bad thing.

          • The Internet does not need the UN. So why should the UN have any say over the Internet?

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Xest (935314)

              The Internet does not need the US. So why should the US have any say over the Internet?

              Do you actually have any valid argument against it or are you just a nationalist? I'm failing to see how increased protection for the internet against bad laws is a bad thing. That's exactly what unanimous vote at the ITU grants it.

        • Furthermore there is a bloc of 57 islamic countries that can outvote just about any secular democracy on any matter. Let the UN run the show and these turkeys get to control what constitutes and what are the consequences of 'hate' speech (ya know, things like pointing out that Islam permits treating women like possessions, shooting of Pakistani girls that stand up for education, killing of homosexuals, killing anyone who opposes the Party line [eg. Hamas throwing Fatah supporters off buildings once Hamas go
      • by Artraze (600366) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:13AM (#41804595)

        And that veto is cast by who, exactly? No one we elected, and no one that we really know. Are you so politically naive to think that those vetos and passes aren't going to be traded for others within the UN machine? And that the people that could be held accountable (elected representatives) can't so thoroughly distance themselves from the UN proceedings to make it a literal non-issue come election time?

        It's not so much as 193 point of failure so much as 193 palms to grease. The UN has way more politicking than accountability and that's never a good thing. Do you really think that this would somehow prevent the Berne Convention (165 parties) won't be used as club to beat the ITU into line? Or that free speech [slashdot.org] isn't going to be a huge issue? And that we could see concessions made on that front in exchange for some other favor within the UN?

        The long and the sort of is it that moving to to the UN spreads the accountability so thin as to be non-existent. At least with the US there is enough accountability (see the defeat of SOPA) and principal (see as one of the freest speech countries around) to keep the internet what it is.

        • by Xest (935314) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:33AM (#41804907)

          What are you on about? the vetoes are passed by your national represenatives appointed by your government. Unless your government backs the stance then it can veto it.

          The Berne convention passed precisely because the US government did want it, I'm failing to see how your argument eliminates the US government as still being a clear point of protection even under the ITU.

          There isn't some separate entity at the ITU, it's still the representatives your government appoints.

          "The long and the sort of is it that moving to to the UN spreads the accountability so thin as to be non-existent. At least with the US there is enough accountability (see the defeat of SOPA) and principal (see as one of the freest speech countries around) to keep the internet what it is."

          Great, and what about counter-examples like ICE domain seizures? You're using a really weak tactic here to try and push your viewpoint with this and your mention of the Berne convention - it's called FUD. The Berne convention has nothing to do with the ITU and the US has done as much wrong as it's done right in terms of internet governance in recent years.

          If the US hadn't carried out the ICE seizures, or if US citizens had protested against them and got them stopped I'd be with you, but this hasn't happened so we're already past the point where the US can pretend to be a protector of the freedoms of the internet.

          • by Artraze (600366) on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:17PM (#41805743)

            > Unless your government backs the stance then it can veto it.

            Right. And when your government backs the stance, like they did SOPA, what happens?

            SOPA went down because politicians were scared they wouldn't get reelected because of the massive outcry. People could look at the list of people that voted 'yes' and not reelect them. If it's some appointee? The politician can just say they went rogue and that they won't reappoint them. And who is that politician anyways... it's buried under time and approvals. 'well, they were my third choice; I didn't really like them but they were the only one that would stick'. Do you think that trail is going to be stronger when you can pump up issues like jobs, defense, abortion, etc?

            So the problem is that instead of the responsibility being on elected representatives (who are accountable to the people), it's on an appointee (whose accountability is to the government). Sure the government is accountable to the representatives who are accountable to the people, but that's a big gap. (And, yes, the government is the representatives, but you don't elect them all, so it really is the amorphous 'government' before the politicians themselves.)

            > The Berne convention passed precisely because the US government did want it, I'm failing to see how your argument eliminates the US government as still being a clear point of protection even under the ITU.

            So the US wanted the Berne convention and now 165 signed on. And mind that is signed a treaty not just voted 'okay' at the ITU. So my point is that peer pressure pushed a treaty across the world. How far do you think it could push a resolution in the ITU? Especially if you say 'well this is really just part of the Berne convention to uphold copyright'.

            > Great, and what about counter-examples like ICE domain seizures?

            I dunno, but I see arrests [bbc.co.uk] and IP bans [torrentfreak.com] (which I view as far more serious than domain seizures, BTW) and jail time [guardian.co.uk] and free speech [wikipedia.org] issues [wikipedia.org] everywhere [wikipedia.org] to follow one thread.

            And Do you really think that, in a world where ACTA could be created, that ITU will somehow prevent domain seizures? What government would really be against that?

            • by Xest (935314)

              "Right. And when your government backs the stance, like they did SOPA, what happens?

              SOPA went down because politicians were scared they wouldn't get reelected because of the massive outcry."

              Exactly the same thing.

              If the people can convince their government to drop SOPA, they can convince them to veto any bad ITU legislation. The best part is we're not relying on just the US to do this, but all nations that find whatever legislation it is distasteful, meaning even if we don't get a US veto, we may well get a

              • by Artraze (600366)

                > If the people can convince their government to drop SOPA, they can convince them to veto any bad ITU legislation.

                But the people didn't, you see. They merely convinced them that they knew about SOPA and would make their politicians pay come election time if they passed it. The politicians still want it though, at least in so far as they don't care that much and the media conglomerates tell them they want it. They just don't want it enough to risk reelection.

                So riddle me this, if the person voting for

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by joshio (950759)

            Great, and what about counter-examples like ICE domain seizures?

            The ICE seizures were completely ineffective. There were a couple of sites that I accessed that were seized by ICE and both were back up and operating with new domain names (that were easily located via a Google search) within a day. The ones that didn't come back probably were doing something illegitimate and didn't feel that it was in their best interest to return. For sure, the ICE seizures were stupid, and a terrible move by the US. But, I'll take that over the great firewall of China any day.

            I also a

      • by rickb928 (945187) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:15AM (#41804621) Homepage Journal

        1, If control is transferred to ITU, pricing will become the new censorship.

        2. Most legislatures put the lie to the concept of the wisdom of the masses. Leave this alone. The U.S. is not perfect, but I'm having a hard time choosing even three other nations that would be trustworthy enough for me. UK, France, Netherlands? No, wait... UK, Netherlands, israel? No, wait... OK, Netherlands, Japan? No, wait... UK, Japan, South Africa? Sorry, a third nation eludes me right now. All others are either too willing to go along with truly socialist options, or are corrupted by dictatorships/religious law/centralized government, or are just even more corrupt than the others.

        Leave it alone. Pricing fixes itself when you realize the complainers have customers who will pay for the access. Pricing as censorship needs to be kept out of governance. Oversight masquerading as benevolence is neither. It is tyranny. And besides, the Internet will recognize it as damage and route around it.

        • by Xest (935314)

          "1, If control is transferred to ITU, pricing will become the new censorship."

          Sure if the US supports it, so how is that any different to now where the US could support it anyway?

    • by CRC'99 (96526) on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:31AM (#41804011) Homepage

      If you disagree, tell me one country which would do a better job. And then tell me how much influence they'd have over the ITU.

      I'm not sure if there is ANY country up for the job - hence the UN is supposed to represent everyones interests. With the downward spiral being the norm for the US these days, its more scary to me to have them in charge of anything. A few successful lobbies (read $$$$$$) and the internet that we know of is over. No country should have veto powers on the Internet. This includes the US.

      • by rickb928 (945187) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:26AM (#41804813) Homepage Journal

        "No country should have veto powers on the Internet. This includes the US."

        Um, that's the problem. The ITU and many other nations think that the US has veto powers over the Internet. Which it does, and has used so sparingly (if at all) that it is a moot point, even now.

      • by Solandri (704621) on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:10PM (#41805601)
        The problem with giving control of the Internet to a world body like the UN is that only a minority of the world (either by number of countries or population) lives in democracies or flawed democracies [wikipedia.org]. The majority of the world is completely or partially authoritarian. If you put the Internet under the democratic control of the world as a whole, the authoritarians win.

        People like to badmouth the U.S. because it's a prominent target. But compare it to the rest of the world as a whole, and the U.S. comes out smelling like roses. Bashing the U.S. in this context is literally throwing out the baby with the bathwater. If you don't want the U.S. in sole control, OECD [wikipedia.org] control is almost certainly preferable to UN control. The free and democratic nations of the Earth built up with a wonderful global tool. Just because it's "global" does not mean they're obligated to hand over control of it to the (mostly authoritarian) world as a whole. Do Open Source software projects give equal voice in decision-making to non-contributors and closed-source proponents?
    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:34AM (#41804047)
      The ITU typically designs standards with two goals:
      1. Interoperability
      2. Promotion of service provider monopolies

      You need not look any further than X.25 to see what sort of provisions the ITU would try to work into future Internet protocols.

      • by HexaByte (817350)

        Let's not forget, that the UN doesn't have enough money now, so they'll naturally have to put a tax on the internet to be able to afford to govern it.

        Then, with the establishment of that precedent, they'll start asking for other taxes from us, too.

    • by r1348 (2567295)

      Shouldn't putting the Internet under UN control actually safeguard it from single countries' censorship attempts?

    • by Eil (82413)

      If you disagree, tell me one country which would do a better job. And then tell me how much influence they'd have over the ITU.

      The nice thing about the design of the Internet and its protocols, is that no one controls the whole thing(1). Any given entity only has the ability to control their own access to it. This is something that the Internet has flourished because of, not in spite of. If you don't like the Internet as it currently stands, you always have the option to build your own and/or build a firewa

    • by rs79 (71822)

      On the other hand, read this, by Tony Rutkowski. For background, Tony has a PhD, MBA and LLB and installed the white house web server way back when and is well known in all internet policy circles. He founded (then quit out of disgust) ISOC and was the ITU general counsel and was the clever fellow that mad the net *legal* under ITU international telecommunications treaty/laws during his brief stint ar ITU general counsel. In this article he explains the two VERY BAD THINGS the ITU did and why they can never

  • Didn't these guys check the pricing models of all the cloud hosts?
    • But the sender has lots of money and only pays once. While they're making new rules, they should require that the sender pays me too...
    • by Shavano (2541114)
      It depends on what you're talking about. The sender pays for its storage and for copyrights that it passes on to the receiver and charges the receiver back for its service. But when it comes to email, the receiver pays most of the cost. This is why you receive so much spam. It costs the sender next to nothing and he has no concern over how much of your ISP's storage space he uses by sending his shit to every email address he can discover, think of or make up because the ISP has no way to charge it back
    • by poity (465672)

      And isn't most web data pulled by the receiver, not pushed by the sender? How can anyone justify the sender paying in such a context, except to mask the desire to grab money from deeper pockets?

    • by petermgreen (876956) <plugwashNO@SPAMp10link.net> on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:46AM (#41805125) Homepage

      Sender already pays

      Kinda.

      In general the internet can be thought of as a pyramid of provider/customer relationships with peering links crossing between providers at a similar level. Traffic goes up the pyramid until it finds a peering link it can cross over on and then works it's way down the pyramid. At the top of the pyramid are the teir 1 providers who are all peered with each other. Initially it would seem this would mean that sender and recipiant were roughly sharing the costs but in reality it doesn't mean that for two reasons.

      1: senders are usually servers and as such the owners have pretty free choice in their location. So they locate them in the US and western europe where the teir 1 providers have a major presense and there are major peering points so internet transit is cheap. Recipiants are usually clients and so their location is constrained by other factors. So many of them have to pay a lot more to get their data from places where the teir 1 providers have a major presense.
      2: when two providers are peered in multiple locations it is usual to use "nearest exit" routing so when a packet travels from the US to europe (or vice-versa) the packet will generally cross a peering link first and then travel across the pond. Having said that the big international networks often have ratio requirements so a provider that only has content customers is likely to find it difficult to get peering with big international networks..

      Didn't these guys check the pricing models of all the cloud hosts?

      I get the impression that amazon's charges for internet traffic don't bear much relationship to what that traffic actually cost's amazon.

      P.S. while I don't think the way the internet is currently run is particually fair (In particular the way there is a small group of teir 1 ISPs more than half of which are US based who get paid for internet service while not paying anyone for upstream) I dislike the idea of the UN being in control even more.

    • The telcos here do not want the sender to pay for comms cost instead of the receiver. They want both parties to pay. Charge their subscribers the same (or a marginally lower) monthly fee, and levy a tax on Google and FB at the same time. Their argument is that the successful content providers make billions while the telcos earn a pittance, but the truth of course is that without those content providers, the telcos would earn nothing. UPC doesn't get to charge the customer or the shopkeeper an extra fee
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:21AM (#41803901)

    So, this is the same UN who keeps batting around the idea of making blasphemy universally illegal. Great! Can't wait to have them handling my internet traffic!

    • And even better, this is the ITU that wanted the Internet to run OSI, instead of TCP/IP.

      Just, grand.

  • Pick your master (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:30AM (#41803993)
    So what, we get to choose between control by Big Content or Big Brother? At the moment Big Content appears to be the more benign choice.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is the same UN that said free speech is imperative, but religious tolerance trumps it.

      • More importantly, the same UN that with alarming frequency tasks tin-pot banana republics with chairmanships of various human rights committees. The internet needs to remain benignly neglected by a stable democracy with constitutional protections for free speech and a long track record of mostly refraining from reneging on those protections. Right now, that describes the US a lot better than it describes the majority of UN member states, and better than some the civilized nations of Europe.
    • It has ever been thus, and the wise nation has a strong constitution limiting the number of things those with power can enforce throuh government. The power itself is the problem, not what's done with it.

  • The idea of someone "owning" the internet is pretty ridiculous. Between the IANA and maybe a revisit of the ol' DNS infrastructure guidelines, I don't think anyone globally would need to have the final say.
  • by concealment (2447304) on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:44AM (#41804155) Homepage Journal

    The internet works because everyone forwards everyone else's packets, costs are low and regulation is low.

    Please don't mess with that formula or you'll make the internet become a lot like the older forms of media it is replacing.

    People seem to think that increased regulation is the solution. I'm not so sure. I think big companies tend to find ways to manipulate regulation more than small ones do.

    Roll it back to 1993 and keep the open, free and wild west internet.

    • by Type44Q (1233630) on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:57AM (#41804353)

      Please don't mess with that formula or you'll make the internet become a lot like the older forms of media it is replacing.

      But that's clearly the objective here... or is it really not that obvious??

      • by poetmatt (793785)

        Exactly, and not only that who else is pushing for it? Older media.

        So, what will be the end result? if they really do push for this we'll end up replacing the internet, just like every other technology that becomes dated because a bunch of idiots who don't understand it make it crap.

        • if they really do push for this we'll end up replacing the internet, just like every other technology that becomes dated because a bunch of idiots who don't understand it make it crap.

          I notice this happens a lot, unnervingly frequently. Not just with technologies, but also with brands.

          There's a local sandwich shop here that eventually got popular enough to be sold. The new owners must've known some MBAs, because portions shrunk, quality of ingredients declined, but service, speed and uniformity improved. It

  • Fuck the UN (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gavron (1300111) on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:45AM (#41804169)

    The Internet thrives because it's free of the bullshit that the UN and the ITU would impose on it. If they had a hand in it, it wouldn't be what it is today.

    FUCK THE UN. Let the ITU continue to manage international phone calls. They tariff'd those to expensive death.

    The United States invented the Internet. The United States BUILT the Internet. The UN can go take a flying leap.

    Please don't mod me down for language. English is my second language and perhaps I don't express myself as well as I might if I could speak my native tongue. When I say FUCK THE UN what I'm trying to say is "FUCK THE UN!!!"

    Ehud

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The United States BUILT the Internet.

      Not in most places, no it didn't.

      • by BeanThere (28381)

        The Internet is a collection of mostly privately built and maintained networks and interconnections; no "country", has any right to "control" it, per se, in any meaningful way. No government or governments, and certainly not the UN.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Your English is beautifully expressive, and as a native English speaker and college graduate, I am in a position to give you at least qualified assurances that your English is also grammatical, clear, natural, and precise. Well done.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:46AM (#41804187)

    They want to control it, let them build their own;

    For various reasons they ALL agreed to our control when they signed up, got their country codes, IP address allocations, etc.

    We've gone well out of our way to give them everything thy could ever want. In fact now the complaint isn't about any single tangible thing; they will get 'nothing' out of this, other than control.

    Well.. build your own.

    You did it for GPS (galileo, glonass, a few more even); do it again.

    What, you can't because the US has most of the technology you want to use? So what good is this 'control' you seek if even AFTER that we still have 'control'?

  • Follow the money (Score:3, Interesting)

    by m0s3m8n (1335861) on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:47AM (#41804203)
    "...Some are concerned over a proposal by European telecom operators seeking to shift the cost of communication from the receiving party to the sender. This could mean huge costs for US Internet giants like Facebook and Google."" The real reason.
  • by e065c8515d206cb0e190 (1785896) on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:50AM (#41804249)
    You mean the body that, by flexing its muscle and getting everyone to agree when all hope was lost, has prevented countless wars and solved dozens of conflicts for 70 years?

    Yes, a thousand times yes!
    • by HexaByte (817350)

      You mean the body that, by flexing its muscle and getting everyone to agree when all hope was lost, has prevented countless wars and solved dozens of conflicts for 70 years?

      I'm sorry, but are you a visitor from a parallel universe where the U.N. actually works?

    • by rickb928 (945187)

      Even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then.

      The UN intervenes when it is in its interest to do so. It fails to intervene even when it woudl be in the interest of victims to do so.

      Imperfect I can tolerate. Deliberately biased is harder to tolerate. The UN is past just biased.

  • Well Known.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lionchild (581331) on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:58AM (#41804369) Journal

    While it could easily be said for the US government as well, the UN is not really well known for doing anything well, or effeciently. While ICANN does have to come under the laws of the US, it would have to come under the laws of someone else, depending on what country it was based in, but at least it's got a track record for having some control over how things work.

  • Oh, wonderful. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Millennium (2451) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:00AM (#41804389) Homepage

    The US has not been the best of stewards, but has nevertheless proven itself a much better henhouse guard than the foxes would be.

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      This is quite true. Especially after various muslim countries have started screaming that they want censorship on the intertubes to "protect people from defaming their precious prophet" the most recent case Saudi Arabia. [jpost.com]

  • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:04AM (#41804455)

    I don't know about all of the stuff being proposed, but I kind of like the idea of shifting the costs back to mega corporations like Google and Facebook. Maybe then, they would few the users as customers instead of the product to be sold to others.

  • I propose that the Internet be declared a sovereign entity or a federation of sovereign entities (one per nationwide network, perhaps) similar to the way the Holy See is a sovereign entity (headed by the Pope) with whom nations can maintain diplomatic relations. I nominate Vint Cerf for the title of chairman of the Internet Federation (in part due to his RFC 3271 [ietf.org].) The Internet Foundation would be responsible for global guidelines that nationwide networks must follow to be considered part of the Internet; nationwide networks would be allowed to come up with other guidelines as long as they don't violate the global guidelines.

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:24AM (#41804751)

    In the meantime, the internet (formerly a DARPA project, and funded by the USA's taxpayers) can stay under USA's control, thank you very much. If the UN feels the need to steal something they didn't create, try Argentinian beef. Isn't that a world resource, after all?

  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:36AM (#41804957) Homepage Journal
    ICANN is an epic failure. The UN couldn't be more incompetent if they set out with that as a goal.
  • by Kirth (183) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @06:10AM (#41815669) Homepage

    The UN has a long history of implementing bullshit the US invented, like prohibition of Drugs. Sometimes, if you're lucky, it does really take a stand against some bollocks the US or other states are trying to pull off.

    So I don't think giving over the ICANN to the UN would not be a huge step. It _might_ be better than the status quo.

    However, having the ITU in charge WILL lead to all kinds of shenanigans. The ITU has a long history of being a huge unaccountable body of TecCos, trying to keep their monopolies. Not a good idea.

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