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The Most Important Meeting You've Never Heard of 171

An anonymous reader writes "In December the nations of the world will gather in Dubai for the UN-convened World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT – pronounced 'wicket'). The topic of the meeting is nothing less than the regulation of the Internet. Under the auspices of the International Telecommunications Union the governments of the world will review the international treaty known as the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITR). The last review of the ITR was in 1988 when the Internet was just aborning. The remarkable and reshaping growth of the Internet provides the excuse for the new review. What's really afoot, however, is an effort by some nations to rebalance the Internet in their favor by reinstituting telecom regulatory concepts from the last century." At least it's being held in a hotbed of unfettered online communication.
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The Most Important Meeting You've Never Heard of

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @08:52AM (#41524297)

    All I ever read about is slavery. Is Dubai just a metaphor for "the rich can control everybody else" or is it a real country?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @08:58AM (#41524365)

    there's no free internet...

  • by somersault ( 912633 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @09:02AM (#41524399) Homepage Journal

    "A real country"? You mean like for example.. the US? The rich certainly don't control people there!

  • HO Ho (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @09:14AM (#41524533)
    Discussing Unfettered communication" in the UAE [] is like discussing celibacy in a brothel.
  • by jythie ( 914043 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @09:16AM (#41524561)
    Yeah, but it dovetails with 'how dare those dang foreigners interfere with the US!' narrative,. so it is getting lots of hyperbolic attention and fear that the US will be under UN control. Exceptional-ism is still a pretty strong meme in the US, and anytime a story comes out that someone other then the US might have power or that the US isn't a unilateral power that can do whatever it wants unquestioned, it gets whipped up into an expletive storm.
  • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @09:38AM (#41524809) Journal

    As a non US citizen, I hope this fails completely and the US maintains control.

    As far as I can see, the US can be pretty crap, but they are by far the least worst option. if you think the US is bad look at the free speech protections of every single other country in the world.

    Presumably, this meeting won't actually mean anything unuless America decides to cede control. I don't se why they would actually do that.

  • by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @10:03AM (#41525111) Homepage

    I'm American and yes treaties aren't popular here. Though in all fairness most Americans in almost all their practices live in a world where on most things the US congress is the final authority. There is no American version of Brussels. Further remember that 1/2 of Americans haven't been out of the country, for many Americans their primary view of foreign countries are the stories about how their family fled and images on news programs emphasizing how much the USA is hated globally. So a large percentage of American population are isolationist. I good deal of the US probably wouldn't mind a US internet, that is loosely connected to other nation's networks; like the telephone system rather than a genuinely global system. Which isn't hypocrisy but rather a deeper desire to move away from empire.

    That being said, we also do have foreign policy hawks and then business interests that like US domination rather than US participation.

  • by swalve ( 1980968 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @10:20AM (#41525315)
    Ridiculous. The content wasn't regulated, but the nuts and bolts are. Things like TCP/IP and routers and shit. You are confusing the roads for the route.
  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @10:21AM (#41525329) Homepage

    Not a whoosh: I'm saying that Chinese people have the political freedoms of the Soviets, the environmental protections of India (take a look at the Ganges), and the economic options of sweatshop labor vs subsistence farming.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @10:59AM (#41525883)

    Honestly I can't stand people who go out of their way to feel like a victim. The rich don't control people in the US. If you feel differently, your victimization is in your head.

  • Re:aborning? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @11:24AM (#41526241)

    It only seems stupid to you because it looks made up out of the word born.

    There's nothing stupid at all about dusting off a lesser known word and holding it up to see if it should regain some stature.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @11:54AM (#41526663) Journal

    How about the US regulate the servers and routers that are in the US, and other countries regulate those in them?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @12:04PM (#41526789)

    Why not a map weighted by GDP? Why not a map weighted by number of internet users? Why not a map weighted by bytes per capita? Why not a location that reduces the total amount of travel? I'll bet you're from somewhere that doesn't give a shit about carbon footprint. But since this is a Telecommunications Conference, why don't they try teleconferencing?

  • by gsgriffin ( 1195771 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @12:43PM (#41527355)
    You're focusing on only what you want to hear. In the US, you can see and do a lot on the Internet. They are not trying to control 'everything on it'. You can watch your porn, put up plans to make a bomb and kill people, tell nasty lies about anyone you want. You can't steal something that someone else has created.

    Also go do your research rather than just listening to your political party of choice. About 97% of all of the taxes in our country are paid for by about 5% of the wealthy people in this country. In other words, we get our highways, police, national parks, etc...because the wealthy have paid their taxes. Take away the wealthy in our country and your taxes will double overnight. I for one am not wealthy, but I'm grateful to those who are and are paying taxes. BTW...the people that get the most back from the government are those that pay nothing. I'm shocked why they feel they should contribute absolutely nothing. Try living in another India or anywhere in Africa. Even if you live at $2/day, you have to pay huge school fees and buy uniforms for your children if you want them to simply go to school. Can't afford it, they don't get an education. It appears you are concerned about the "poor" in America, but statistically, check out a global wealth calculator...several on the web...those living on welfare in the US are still in the top 20% of wage earner in the world for doing nothing. Not a bad gig. Don't like it, try living in another country and doing nothing and see what it gets you.

    The cell phone providers are not the internet. They are your ISP. They can charge what you are willing to pay. If nobody is willing to pay it, they will go to some other provider. The try to limit the traffic...not control it. They want to earn money. So does any business.

    Copyrights used to be easier because it was all physical or intellectual. Now the Internet has allowed people to copy what they didn't create for free and pass it around for others to have for free. Whatever movies you like or computers games or TV shows you may like, do you think they would exist if there was no protection at all and everyone could copy and pass them around for free? Really? The reason they can still be in business is because our government is trying so hard to protect and make it illegal to takes what someone has created and pass it around for free. If the US didn't pay to go to the movies, buy DVD, and rent the movies, I'd have a hard time believing that anyone in Hollywood would be willing to put up $100M to make a great movie. They'd loose all their money.

    Go ahead and explain to us how and why anything would be developed (pharma, entertainment, software) if nobody is willing to pay for it and just waits to get it for free. I'd love to know how that system works?

  • by Hentes ( 2461350 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @01:02PM (#41527629)

    I'm European and I think you are an idiot for bringing nationalism into a debate about the global net. Like it or not, the Internet has become what it is under American control, they developed it and built it up to a thing that fundamentally changed our lives. That's why I trust them much more than the barbarian-dominated UN. America is still the land of the free and one of the most liberal places in the world, and while I don't like it when they try to force that liberalism on the political or economical systems of other countries, that freedom is crucial for the Internet to function. The Internet is a worldwide thing, and national legislation of it is bullshit and would just fracture it into small subnets, ruining its biggest strength. And while I would love if it was led by a global organisation of professionals, that has exactly zero chance. In the current situation most countries only support the treaty because they want to censor the net and want to introduce tariffs on throughgoing traffic. This is a move to give politicians even more control over the net.

  • Entitlement (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @02:41PM (#41528991)

    If 5% of the wealthy contain 97% of the wealth, they should be paying 97% of the taxes (hint: that number is wrong, its less). One penny less should be a crime.

    The people that get the most out of government money are the ones that own businesses. Those roads your trucks go down: Tax money. Those police that keep your riches safe: Tax money. Those laws that forbid mere private citizens from participating in the arbitrage that made the wealthy and keep them so: Tax money.

    There is no respect to be found being an apologist. You don't deserve it.

"Wish not to seem, but to be, the best." -- Aeschylus