Sunday, November 13, 2011

UN Seeking to Control the Internet and Individual Content?

This idea, supported by France under the leadership of Sarkozy with the support of President Obama and his administration in the USA through both the G8 and the United Nations, for attempting to exert a control over the usage and management of cyberspace within the Internet was recently pointed out, believe it or not,  by the Russian President Medvedev.

During the recent G8 in Paris, and reported on by the Christian Science Monitor, France’s Sarkozy’s was claiming that now control of the internet somehow in his mind has become a “moral imperative” to control the Internet.

He was unfortunately backed by the Obama administration by its proposed law now floating around congress and which has since been amended to target “foreign infringing sites.”

Some have dubbed the US proposed law as the Enforcing and Protecting American Rights Against Sites Intent on Theft and Exploitation Act or the E-PARASITE Act, (formerly known as the PROTECT-IP Act).

“These revisions would allow the US Department of Justice to force search engines, browsers, and service providers to block and censor users' access to websites, and scrub the American Internet clean of any trace of their existence without having to deal with the annoying legal notion of fair use or any legal rights of the accused.”

Now, the United Nations, which for the most part is under the control and influence of truly non democratic nations, continues with its committee, that was started back in 2003, for setting up a global system under the direct control of the UN for the management and control of cyberspace.

The real issue relates to the extent to which private industry, civil society groups, and other nongovernmental stakeholders should continue to play significant roles in the management of the Internet.

Recent hearings at the UN had some countries, including China, favoring the limiting of the oversight role to governmental and intergovernmental bodies.

Tang Zicai, representing the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in Beijing stated:

"The governments are located in the center of this process," and "This process cannot be accomplished without the meaningful participation of the governments."

Also, the Internet Society, a nonprofit international organization focusing on Internet standards, education, and policy argued that:  

"The Internet is a network of networks working cooperatively together, designed to operate without centralized control or governance mechanisms."

However, there is growing support from developing countries within the General Assembly of the UN for increased government regulation and control of the internet as stated by Mohammed Hussain Nejad, a representative of the government of Iran:

"Developments have not been supportive of increasing the leverage of developing countries in policy issues pertaining to the Internet," and further argued "The few developed countries are either monopolizing policymaking on such issues or entering into exclusive treaties among themselves, while further marginalizing other countries, mainly developing ones."

Most realize that the United Nations General Assembly is controlled by developing countries and for the most part do not have truly democratic governments in their own countries.

As such it would be fair to say that they truly are against the democratic idea of the free flow of information to citizens.

Verveer another representative speaking at the committee stated:  

" inter governmental controls would be a way of controlling the content that passes over the Internet by requiring, by treaty if you will, other administrations to cooperate in terms of suppressing speech that they didn't like."

Special interest groups such as the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), supports the drafting of a "cyber peace treaty" and attempted to offer up some farfetched assurances that some non-governmental bodies would be a part of the process.

The Director of the Citizen Lab and the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies at the University of Toronto, Ron Deibert has stated that:

"We have to be careful about what institutions take the lead. The Chinas, the Iran’s, the Saudi Arabia’s of the world want to impose a territorial vision of control over cyberspace -- and if the ITU got its wishes, that's essentially what would happen."

Stay informed as the United Nations along with the US, France and other countries will continue the attempts at controlling the Internet directly or through the UN's World Conference on International Telecommunications, scheduled for 2012 in Malaysia.

Public documents from Christian Science monitor, numerous web sites and United Nations, thanks to all.


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Thanks for your thoughts, comments and opinions, will be in touch. Peter Clarke