Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Censorship Government The Internet News Your Rights Online

Internet Freedom Won't Be Controlled, Says UN Telcom Chief 158

Posted by samzenpus
from the hands-off-the-tubes dept.
wiredmikey writes "The head of the UN telecommunications body, Hamadoun Toure, told an audience at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) in Dubai on Monday that Internet freedom will not be curbed or controlled. 'Nothing can stop the freedom of expression in the world today, and nothing in this conference will be about it,' he said. Such claims are 'completely (unfounded),' Toure, secretary general of the International Telecommunication Union, told AFP. 'We must continue to work together and find a consensus on how to most effectively keep cyberspace open, accessible, affordable and secure,' UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said. Google has been vocal in warning of serious repercussions, saying that 'Some proposals could permit governments to censor legitimate speech — or even cut off Internet access,' noted Google's Vint Cerf in a blog post."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Internet Freedom Won't Be Controlled, Says UN Telcom Chief

Comments Filter:
  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Millennium (2451) on Monday December 03, 2012 @05:48PM (#42173319) Homepage

    If the goal is not to curb internet freedom, then why are the foxes the ones at the forefront of the effort to build a henhouse?

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Monday December 03, 2012 @05:51PM (#42173347)
    That is exactly what I was thinking. I am confused as to why the people who are most vocally calling for the ITU to take active control over governance of the Internet are representatives of the governments with the strongest history of actively suppressing freedoms if the only reason for this discussion is to ensure that the Internet remain open.
  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) on Monday December 03, 2012 @05:55PM (#42173365)

    Exactly!

    Dear Mr Hamadoun Toure: If it won't be curbed or controlled why not define attempts to do so as a crime against humanity [wikipedia.org] and access to the internet a human right?

    Could it be that you know it is already curbed and controlled and monitored and blocked.

    Oh, look, your nose is growing and your pants seem to be on fire.

  • Re:Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Monday December 03, 2012 @06:12PM (#42173521) Homepage Journal

    Really? Follow the money and all? If the US government is crying wolf, are they really interested in ideals, or in advantages for themselves? Same for Google.

    If you assign motives to one side and question their words, do so for the other as well.

  • by AHuxley (892839) on Monday December 03, 2012 @06:15PM (#42173559) Homepage Journal
    Q: What is the difference between the US and UN controlled internet? Both guarantee freedom of speech.
    A: Yes, but the USA also guarantees freedom after the speech.
    ie Open, accessible, affordable - sounds like a trap to get you online.
    The secure sounds like easy tracking at any point along the network.
  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jfengel (409917) on Monday December 03, 2012 @06:26PM (#42173667) Homepage Journal

    It may be their goal, but they won't get it. It's not what the ITU does and they won't succeed in their ludicrous proposals. They only make those proposals because they have no idea what they're talking about.

    In fact, most of it is political theater. The ITU attendees themselves are well aware that these proposals stand no chance of passage. But the religious zealots in their countries are as ignorant of that as they are about everything else, and enjoy being pandered to. So when the proposals fail, the government can claim that they tried to prohibit blasphemy, but those blasphemous bastards in the West defeated it.

    It's a dangerous and ugly game, because some of these zealots will take it as an excuse for violence. But as far as the leadership is concerned, as long as it's directed against us rather than them, it's all good.

  • "Tyrants like Hitler, Stalin and FDR"

    If the credence I gave to your post were plotted as a function of how much I'd read, at this point there would be a discontinuous step to zero.
  • by reboot246 (623534) on Monday December 03, 2012 @07:27PM (#42174213) Homepage
    There you go, telling the truth about the UN's view of human rights. They really don't want people reading all the way to the end of that charter. None of your rights is safe with the UN, but fools continue to trust them and defend them (our holy leader Obama being one of them).
  • Re:Uhm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Microlith (54737) on Monday December 03, 2012 @08:14PM (#42174577)

    Shorter Vint Cerf: Some proposals would actually allow sovereign governments to enforce their sovereignty, as bad as that may be.

    Yup, and that's a bad thing. No accommodations should be made to make things easy for censorious, oppressive governments to act in such a manner. All the burden should be on their end, rather than worked into some sort of legalistic framework ripe for abuse.

    Of course governments can censor speech and cut off Internet access, that's their prerogative.

    But is it the prerogative of the people in that country? Or is it a government acting unilaterally for the sake of retaining power? Should we be accepting or tolerant of that?

    How do you think an American government would react if it was told by the UN, or Mexico, that it was forbidden from arresting undocumented migrants, because such action would infringe upon an individual's absolute freedom of movement, as protected by some UN declaration of human rights?

    This is an idiotic comparison.

    Mexico/UN: Hey, stop arresting and deporting people who bypass legal channels to enter your country!

    vs

    US: Hey, stop fucking with the internet in your bid to silence opposition and retain power over the populace of your nation!

    No, if anything there should be protocols put in place to ensure that no one could ever be sure that information was being cleanly filtered, to the point that the only option for these countries would be to vanish from the net entirely, and suffer the requisite economic damage for doing so.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03, 2012 @08:21PM (#42174637)

    But it's not just CP/IP. You can also get shut down for things including, but not limited to:
      - Carrying information deemed to be "propaganda" for groups hostile to US interests
      - Selling holiday flights to Cuba
      - Publishing information that the US gov't deems 'classified'
      - Running an online casino

    This vaunted 'freedom of expression on the Internet' has only ever been as deep as the government wanted it to be.

  • Re:Really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tbird81 (946205) on Monday December 03, 2012 @09:05PM (#42174973)

    I'm not. I live in NZ.

    I would rather have the US "controlling" the internet, than a bunch of Saudi Arabians!

    Every country is not equal. Some care more about freedom than others. Germans don't. Russians don't. The scores of Islamic countries certainly don't.

    Fuck those countries. They can make their own internet. The UN can make its own internet, try to charge excessively to pay for the exorbitant lifestyles of its member politicians, and see who uses it.

    Why do they think they can take over something that does no belong to them? Fucking Nazis.

  • Re:Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SplashMyBandit (1543257) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @12:46AM (#42176201)

    Kia Ora cuz! I live in New Zealand too (for the benefit of everyone else).

    I wholeheartedly support your sentiments. For me the thing is is, ICANN has to obey the laws and courts of the US where Free Speech is protected (vigorously, but outfits like the EFF and supported by the courts). Once the UN gets its mitts on the Internet there is no way anyone can try and influence it. Furthermore, the UN is corrupt in the sense that the resolutions that get passed don't actually match its founding ideals - yet there is nothing the citizens of the World can actually do about it.

    Corruption of the UN
    Why is the UN this way? unfortunately it is due to past and future conflicts (a legacy of the Cold War, and now influenced by the rise of global Jihad and Salafism). I refer you to this video for an overview (mid-way describes how the Non-Aligned and Islamic movements have joined to form a voting bloc to defeat the interests of the US, Israel and much of the 'Western' World):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7Mupoo1At8 [youtube.com]

    Case History - reasons to oppose the move
    Now some on these forums have argued that the ITU has been good at what it does. This is entirely true. However, I would argue that this was precisely because the ITU held no power that it has avoided the manipulating interest of special groups. Once the ITU actually got power could those special interest groups warp the normal process and corrupt the ITU in the same way that voting the UN General Assembly has been corrupted by voting blocs? Well, I'll give two examples for consideration:

    • ISO was a pretty respected organization. However there was a fiasco several years back where Microsoft essentially stuffed ballots for voting on the Office OpenXML document standard (despite ISO already having adopted the Open Document format as its standard). Lots of 'first time' voters registered for this, chairman barred any dissenting questions from being raised and the standard was forced through. A clear case of a single corporation warping a standards body for its own interests (and arguably, against the interests of the general population of document users, who had a preference for truly open standards).
    • Second example. The UN is working on making criticism of religion equivalent to hate speech. This means you can't say that the beheading of criminals under Islam's Sharia Law is barbaric, because Muslims will almost certainly wail that they have been offended by your statement. It is an essential part of Free Speech to be able to criticize, even to the point of offense. It is no surprise that the anti-Free Speech advocates who pushed for this are also pushing to move control of the Internet from ICANN (where Free Speech is protected by US law) to the UN ITU - where they can regulate the Internet and *forcibly* prohibit *your* Free Speech.

    One doesn't have to be an astrophysicist (although I am/was :) ) to see how these examples are the representative of possible future trouble if the Internet was to slip out from ICANN's protection.

    Let's not give up our open Internet, and other Freedoms without making a fuss, eh?

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xest (935314) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:29AM (#42177447)

    "Why is the UN this way? unfortunately it is due to past and future conflicts (a legacy of the Cold War, and now influenced by the rise of global Jihad and Salafism). I refer you to this video for an overview (mid-way describes how the Non-Aligned and Islamic movements have joined to form a voting bloc to defeat the interests of the US, Israel and much of the 'Western' World)"

    I'm intrigued, pray tell how does an Islamic voting block defeat the interests of the US, Israel and the rest of the West in the UN's organisations that requires a consensus vote? Even if they gain a majority a majority is still meaningless where consensus is required. Majority voting only works in places like the general assembly which is entirely unrelated to the ITU. The ITU for what it's worth was created in about the 1880s, about 60 years before the UN, which is a large reason why it has a very different structure to some other UN organisations.

    "Now some on these forums have argued that the ITU has been good at what it does. This is entirely true. However, I would argue that this was precisely because the ITU held no power that it has avoided the manipulating interest of special groups."

    It has no inherent power, nor will it ever do beyond that which is granted through consensus of it's member states - i.e. just about every country in the world. The ITU can only do what the entire world agrees unanimously it can do - you seem to believe it's some kind of entity that exists in a vacuum, that's not true, it only exists and can do things where states unanimously agree to let it do so. To date those powers granted have been things like assigning communication satellite orbits - because someone has to do that and if states do so independently you'll find countries accidently crashing satellites into each other.

    "Second example. The UN is working on making criticism of religion equivalent to hate speech. This means you can't say that the beheading of criminals under Islam's Sharia Law is barbaric, because Muslims will almost certainly wail that they have been offended by your statement."

    This is simply an outright lie. What would be correct to say is that a few countries have proposed this even though they have no hope of passing it, and even if they did there is no structure within the UN by which they could multilaterally enforce it on those countries who don't want this. It's worrying that to try and make a point you're having to resort to outright literal FUD, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and pretend that you've said this through lack of knowledge about the topic, rather than an attempt to maliciously manipulate the discussion using the politics of fear.

    It seems the majority of your post seems to be a muddle of anti-Islamic paranoia and confusion about how the UN/ITU relationship and governance works. Your post reads like a Fox News fear piece, rather than a factual, useful commentary.

    For what it's worth we've already lost our free internet, if you haven't noticed ICE domain seizures are already enforcing global internet censorship at the behest of a single government. This is the flip side of your initial point that you've failed to mention - that ICANN also has to adhere to the bad laws of the US as well as the good due to it being part of a single nation. The situation is hence not quite as perfect as you make out.

    If you genuinely care about internet freedom you wouldn't be spending your time spreading FUD about the ITU/UN/Islam, you'd instead be trying to create pressure on the US to make ICANN a special entity that is above US law when it comes to demands from judges in some backwater part of a US state, or customs officials bought off by the MPAA/RIAA to enforce global internet censorship. If you did that, and achieved that, there'd be no valid reason for people to argue for a move to ITU control of ICANN in the first place. You're focussing on the symptom of the problem of calls for changes to internet governance, rather than the root cause - fixing US mismanagement of t

Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it. -- Perlis's Programming Proverb #58, SIGPLAN Notices, Sept. 1982

Working...