Russia, China want UN to run internet

From WUWT, the Washington Times says:

Imagine if everything you did online was subject to monitoring and control by the United Nations. Powerful authoritarian states, including China and Russia, are spearheading an effort to place the most potent information system in the world under centralized international control. They want the Internet to work with the same efficiency, speed and reliability as the U.N.

The UN can’t stop wars, can’t agree on fighting climate change, appoints despots to its Human Rights Committee and lacks the initiative to cut the mould off old cheese. They’d sit on the Internet and kill it. It’s no far-off proposal, either, it’s on the table:

This week, Congress will consider legislation to amend the 1988 International Telecommunication Regulations to give the U.N. extraordinary powers over the Internet. In September, the authoritarian bloc submitted a proposal titled “The International Code of Conduct for Information Security.” In theory, it seeks to systematize and standardize the Internet and establish rules for maintaining cybersecurity. In fact, it will give the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) – a U.N. agency that oversees global telecommunications – vast new powers to regulate and control access to the Internet and information flow in cyberspace.

The WT well summarises the reasons to resist:

That Beijing and Moscow are backing the idea is enough to know it’s a bad one. The free flow of information has always been an enemy of thuggish regimes. To them, individual expression and the unlimited exchange of ideas – which the Internet has made possible for some oppressed people for the first time in history – must be stamped out. Such countries view the Internet as a vast intelligence operation, a means of collecting sensitive information on people and preventing freedom of expression through a sophisticated array of censorship tools.

I haven’t checked how the ITU makes major decisions; let us hope they need 100% or there’s a power of veto.

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12 Thoughts on “Russia, China want UN to run internet

  1. Andy on 30/05/2012 at 10:47 am said:

    I was in China a couple of years ago. They block Youtube and also have their own sanitised version of Google. During the Tiananmen Square celebrations, they blocked Twitter too.

    Also, they log the MAC address of your computer while you are there.

  2. Doug Proctor on 31/05/2012 at 11:02 am said:

    And we are already on their radar.

    Once this CAGW fiasco bombs, and I cease having night terrors, any conspiracists about to create extreme weather will not kidnap me with my denier brain and hold us for ransom until the vanguard of the proletariat, Dr. David Suzuki, agrees to the payoff.

    There. I’m now on 9 more lists, and Suzuki is suspected of having totalitarian, communist allies.

    Wait. Now I’m on two more.

  3. Andy on 31/05/2012 at 1:21 pm said:

    Well, Mugabe has taken on the tourism portfolio for the UN, so what could possibly be wrong with the UN running the internet?

    You *know* it makes sense.

    • All right, all right! I give in, already! It’s taken a while, because I thought it was just mildly ill, but I agree now that the UN is seriously sick. I mean, horse’s broken leg sick.

      When even apparently reasonable men like Kofi Annan get sucked into the ridiculous politics of accommodating despots, it’s time to put the dumb beast out of our misery.

      It’s time to put it down.

    • Andy on 31/05/2012 at 1:47 pm said:

      Try typing “The UN is” into Google

      This is what I get

    • So do I, plus a few more, like “powerless to stop wars” — ain’t that true. Helen ought to be ashamed of herself by now.

      The very notion of a world agreement on anything is fanciful. The only possibility of such a gigantic committee reaching agreement on anything is that it be taken over by an interest group which can vote in its own interests. That’s exactly what we find in various areas of UN activity and in the EU. Eventually individual countries or communities will declare that’s enough and disband them. Then we can get on with the comparatively easy process of getting countries to agree on smaller issues, without the interference of numerous bureaucratic megalomaniacs. Just a small number of ordinary, highly visible megalomaniacs like Mugabe.

    • Andy on 31/05/2012 at 2:39 pm said:

      I think I must be one of these


      noun. Someone opposed to a whole raft of political values which are derived from a fundamentally irrational meta-context (world view). Anti-idiotarians can be found across a wide section of the political spectrum and are primarily characterised by vocal rational judgmentalism, generally hawkish sentiments and transcendent loathing of Noam Chomsky.

  4. Ron on 01/06/2012 at 2:36 pm said:

    For the moment the threat looks to have receded, but they will no doubt keep trying.
    “US Congress Rejects UN Internet Takeover”

  5. Richard C (NZ) on 01/06/2012 at 5:11 pm said:

    When Climategate was breaking, one of the commenters at WUWT (female, can’t remember her name unfortunately) remarked:-

    “The only thing that stands between us and totalitarianism is the internet”

    The “free” world ceases to be free the moment the UN, China, Russia get centralized control – best to resist at all costs.

  6. So long as the All Blacks are world-beaters, so long as the netball is there every Saturday, who the hell cares and what does it matter?

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