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Some Countries Want To Ban 'Information Weapons'

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the treaty-to-suppress dept.

Government 321

DrgnDancer sends in an NPR piece on recent efforts to control so-called "information weapons" on the Internet. What's interesting is that the term "information weapon," as defined by many of the countries trying to limit them, doesn't mean what you would think. It's closer to the old Soviet term "ideological aggression." "At a UN disarmament conference in 2008, Sergei Korotkov of the Russian Defense Ministry argued that anytime a government promotes ideas on the Internet with the goal of subverting another country's government — even in the name of democratic reform — it should qualify as 'aggression.' And that, in turn, would make it illegal under the UN Charter. 'Practically any information operation conducted by a state or a number of states against another state would be qualified as an interference into internal affairs,' Korotkov said through an interpreter. 'So any good cause, like [the] promotion of democracy, cannot be used as a justification for such actions.' The Russians, and a lot of other countries such as Iran and China, apparently consider the free exchange of information to be an information technology threat. One that must be managed by treaty."

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321 comments

Why would the US / EU want to broadcast Democracy? (0, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676754)

Seems like a giant waste of money to me. It certainly didn't accomplish much during the Cold war

Re:Why would the US / EU want to broadcast Democra (0, Troll)

mweather (1089505) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676872)

Yeah, it's not like they turned into a Democracy when the government finally collapsed.

Many in eastern europe did turn to democracy (5, Informative)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677094)

Yeah, it's not like they turned into a Democracy when the government finally collapsed.

Poland, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Georgia, etc did.

The cold war was not waged exclusively against the soviet union. It was also waged against the soviet "client" states throughout eastern europe, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_Pact [wikipedia.org]. Much of the info campaign was directed at these states.

Re:Many in eastern europe did turn to democracy (0, Flamebait)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677258)

Yeah. Woosh!

A figure of speech in which the intended meaning is the opposite of that expressed by the words used; usually taking the form of sarcasm or ridicule in which laudatory expressions are used to imply condemnation or contempt.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony [wikipedia.org]

Re:Many in eastern europe did turn to democracy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33677672)

Yeah. Woosh!

A figure of speech in which the intended meaning is the opposite of that expressed by the words used; usually taking the form of sarcasm or ridicule in which laudatory expressions are used to imply condemnation or contempt.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony [wikipedia.org]

Sorry but things seemed to have gone over your head. The primary topic of this article is Russia, and Russia is hardly acting in a democratic fashion. If irony was attempted it was done quite poorly given that an obvious interpretation of the vague phrase was a criticism of Russia and the Putin machine.

Re:Why would the US / EU want to broadcast Democra (4, Informative)

alta (1263) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677124)

Just because Russia propper isn't the most shining example of a Democracy, it doesn't mean that Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan aren't.

Sure, I'm sure there's corruption in some of those too, but by no means all of them.

for some reason my control-v is broke right now, but looking at wikipedia it's showing a positive outlook on Latvia, Lithuaia and Estonia, and a 'very serious situation' in Turkmenistan.

Re:Why would the US / EU want to broadcast Democra (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677486)

Go through the list and count how many are stable, secure democracies. Not Belarus, not Uzbekistan (where they do charming things like boil people to death - read Murder in Samarkand by former British ambassador Craig Murray,), not most of the rest.

Re:Why would the US / EU want to broadcast Democra (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33677522)

Let's have a closer look at them one by one:
Estonia and Latvia have fascist apartheid laws, denying citizenship rights to one quarter and one third of their respective population.
Lithuania has democratically voted back the commies right after they got a taste of democacy.
Belarus is Europe's Last Dictatorship
Moldova's main export is white babies, prostitutes, slaves and human organs. A European country with a GDP per capita of Sudan.
Ukraine is marginally richer than Moldova, with a similar export profile. The worlds busiest slave port is Odessa, Ukraine.
Armenia is slightly poorer than Moldova (after being one of the most prosperous republics of the USSR).
Azerbaijan is a hereditary absolute monarchy with no democracy in sight. Also, an oil- and gas-emirate.
Georgia is a Stalinist dictatorship with a largely impoverished population (after being THE most prosperous republic of the USSR). A police officer makes about five to ten times as much as a university professor. Nuff said.
Kazakhstan is happily ruled on by the same dude that was the first secretary of the Communist Party. Without interruption, mind you.
Kyrgyzstan is on the brink of civil war and would be by far the poorest post-Soviet state, were it not for
Tajikistan, which is already in the state of civil war.
Turkmenistan is a shining democracy and has always been, no doubt. Google for Turkmenbashi, if you need any proof.
In Uzbekistan, the situation is largely the same as in Kazakhstan, minus mineral wealth plus a huge impoverished population.

So?

Re:Why would the US / EU want to broadcast Democra (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677156)

But Russia and Eastern Europe would have become democratic even without the 24 hour Air America broadcasts.

Re:Why would the US / EU want to broadcast Democra (5, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677214)

Air America, the radio network, was a left-wing radio network in the US.

It was a CIA fronted aviation company in the 1960s.

I think you are looking for Voice of America.

Re:Why would the US / EU want to broadcast Democra (2, Informative)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677596)

Actually I think he means Radio Free Europe.

Re:Why would the US / EU want to broadcast Democra (5, Interesting)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676904)

So Germany isn't reunited, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Russia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic don't have free multiparty elections now?

The pushing of democracy in the Cold War, along with a healthy cultural push from film, tv, radio and music helped spur the end of one party rule in Eastern Europe.

So in effect what the Russian Minister said the VOA and BBC in the 60s through 90s was an act of aggression.

Re:Why would the US / EU want to broadcast Democra (0, Flamebait)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677076)

So Germany isn't reunited, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Russia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic don't have free multiparty elections now?

Actually Georgia and Russia don't. Hungary, Romania and Ukraine are iffy to say the least.

Re:Why would the US / EU want to broadcast Democra (2, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677190)

They do alot better at trying that they did from, oh infinity to 1991.

Re:Why would the US / EU want to broadcast Democra (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33677222)

Not to mention the US. A two party system is just a half-assed one-party system.

Re:Why would the US / EU want to broadcast Democra (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677302)

>>>The pushing of democracy in the Cold War, along with a healthy cultural push from film, tv, radio and music helped spur the end of one party rule in Eastern Europe

More like a bankrupt treasury.

I give zero credit to the 24 hour propaganda radio.

Re:Why would the US / EU want to broadcast Democra (1)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677516)

So in effect what the Russian Minister said the VOA and BBC in the 60s through 90s was an act of aggression.

Good or bad, it was, and quite deliberately so, but don't give them too much credit. The internal forces were present from the beginning and would have been sufficient without Scorpions and Billy Joel concerts.

Re:Why would the US / EU want to broadcast Democra (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33677180)

You may have a valid point (the subject line only though). Does any individual, group, or country deserve democracy, free enterprise, self determination, and freedom unless they are willing to earn it themselves? A lot of nations/groups/peoples simply lack the intellectual capacity to appreciate these benefits and the courage to fight for them when necessary.

Re:Why would the US / EU want to broadcast Democra (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33677536)

Yeah, though it's very hard to discuss this with people because they pull the racist card at once. But the point is very valid and I too will post this as AC for the same reasons as you.

Re:Why would the US / EU want to broadcast Democra (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677506)

The US does it to foment "color revolutions" [google.com], which have succeeded in bringing in pro-US governments in Georgia and Ukraine (though it failed in Iran).

Can you cover me too, bro? (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676758)

My mom and other relatives are always giving me shit on Facebook about getting a job, and pointing out how my cousin is doing so much better than me. So while we're making it illegal to criticize governments, can we also make it illegal to criticize individuals? I really feel like a lot of people are being ideologically aggressive towards me, and I would appreciate it if the UN would step in and put a stop to it. Thanks in advance for any protection you can afford me as a sovereign individual.

Not happening (3, Funny)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677054)

Sorry, but Moms and "other relatives" have an inalienable right to criticize. Moms in particular.

Re:Can you cover me too, bro? (4, Funny)

scosco62 (864264) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677150)

Mom says stop reading slashdot and fill out those damn applications now.

Re:Can you cover me too, bro? (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677238)

can we also make it illegal to criticize individuals?

No. Only corporations and governments have rights. However, if you file papers of incorporation and have sufficient capital and/or connections, we might be willing to have a talk with you.

Meet me under the Whitehurst freeway near the corner of Wisconsin and K. Be wearing a dark suit with a red handkercheif. Bring $10,000 in cash. We'll start from there.

Re:Can you cover me too, bro? (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677426)

Be wearing a dark suit with a red handkerchief [wikipedia.org]

Left or right pocket?

Re:Can you cover me too, bro? (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677688)

LOL, I'd heard of that but totally forgot about it. Isn't the gay thing always with jeans pockets though? When I said "suit", I was thinking jacket pocket. I just pulled up some images and it looks like all suits have only one front pocket.

Re:Can you cover me too, bro? (0, Troll)

sorak (246725) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677538)

In a democracy, criticism of the people is criticism of the government...and vice versa.

Now, I'll leave it to the rest of you to argue about how and if this statement applies to the US.

I certainly hope... (1)

e065c8515d206cb0e190 (1785896) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676760)

ping survives!

Re:I certainly hope... (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677332)

Don't push your fascist agenda on my citizenry please.

Re:I certainly hope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33677528)

I certainly hope... ping survives!

Don't push your fascist agenda on my citizenry please.

Damn straight.

The UN SHOULD do something about those ICMP packets

In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33676768)

... information informs you. Err... wait... Nevermind.

NPR (2, Interesting)

jschmitz (607083) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676788)

Yeah this story was on NPR this morning - Some countries believe Twitter is an ideological weapon am sure that is just what Biz Stone had in mind........ fricken wackjobs

Re:NPR (3, Insightful)

orgelspieler (865795) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677488)

Hell, if these guys are anti-Twitter, where do I sign up? I've had to stop watching CNN thanks to their inane reading of random Twitter posts. All the networks seem to be headed that way. It's the ultimate "man on the street" routine. So much information, so little intellect.

Technically this is old news. (4, Insightful)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676808)

Countries that do not like freedom of expression will do a lot to prevent it, including going into conflicts or trying to push treaties and international agreements that conflate freedom of expression and terrorism.

They have been doing this since people had ideas to argue over. Look it up.

Re:Technically this is old news. (1)

ddmcd (212701) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676864)

True. Every week or so the Washington Post publishes a special section called "Russia Today." It's a PR piece promoting business with Russia. I wonder if this would be considered a type of "aggression" under these totalitarian rules?

WikiLeaks==InfoWar? (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677550)

The thing is both sets of countries are in a kind of bind.

Russians and Chinese don't want their citizens to know about foreign economic or political systems.

But the US doesn't want stuff like WikiLeaks getting out. The Administration's statements on WikiLeaks pretty much confirmed that they considered it a kind of "infowar".

Wow... so everything is aggression then (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676812)

So saying "The Russian government is wrong on this issue" could be considered an attack. Maybe that is taking it to the extreme, but what if it's "The Russian government is wrong and the Russian people shouldn't stand for it". And then there is the slightly more blunt "...and the Russian people should rise up against it". So at what point does that become aggression? I ask in all honesty, I feel like this could have a major chilling effect on negotiations between nations where legitimate arguments could be construed as aggression.

Re:Wow... so everything is aggression then (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677060)

So saying "The Russian government is wrong on this issue" could be considered an attack. Maybe that is taking it to the extreme, but what if it's "The Russian government is wrong and the Russian people shouldn't stand for it". And then there is the slightly more blunt "...and the Russian people should rise up against it". So at what point does that become aggression? I ask in all honesty, I feel like this could have a major chilling effect on negotiations between nations where legitimate arguments could be construed as aggression.

Yes, and the UN is also contemplating a ban on Defamation of Religion [ifex.org].

Sadly ever ass-hat oppressive regime who doesn't like to be criticized, and every stupid idiot who believes in the tooth fairy wants to remove my right to criticize them or point out that they're idiots. People who embrace living in the stone age want to make it illegal for me to say that they're stupid for doing so.

So, allow me to preemptively say ... your country sucks if it takes away people's freedoms, your religion sucks if it confers an obligation on those of us who don't believe, your government sucks ... well, your government probably sucks no matter where you are. I retain my right to give offense, and if you don't like it, too damned bad.

Any religion or government which can't stand some criticism should be banned.

I'm all for the UN, but increasingly the backwards and the stupid are pushing an agenda that wants to wipe out the last thousand years of progress in human endeavors.

Re:Wow... so everything is aggression then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33677126)

amen comrade!

Re:Wow... so everything is aggression then (2, Insightful)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677250)

I'm for the UN Security Council, and various commissions and agencies, but I'm not in favor of the General Assembly doing crap like this.

Like when a UN forum on Racism keeps calling Zionism racist but won't label movements like Hamas, Fatah, Hezbollah or Arab Nationalism as racist. Nor will they call out and attack Saharan and Sub-Saharan slavery.

Re:Wow... so everything is aggression then (1)

El Torico (732160) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677278)

You may want to take protective measures (like arming yourself). You just pissed off a lot of people (if they read slashdot that is).

Re:Wow... so everything is aggression then (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677416)

You may want to take protective measures (like arming yourself). You just pissed off a lot of people (if they read slashdot that is).

Only if they explicitly believe in the tooth fairy or embrace living in the stone age. I specifically didn't highlight any one group -- so, they would have to believe those things to be true of themselves before they could take offense.

And, if they do, good. If you have the critical reasoning skills to apply what I said to you, and take offense, then you're twice the idiot. (Not "you", but the expansive 3rd party you ... I'm not asserting that *you* are an idiot; merely that there exist idiots.)

Re:Wow... so everything is aggression then (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677632)

>Yes, and the UN is also contemplating a ban on Defamation of Religion.

Will this also stop the EMACS-bashing?

Re:Wow... so everything is aggression then (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677656)

Any religion or government which can't stand some criticism should be banned./quote.

No, they should simply be firmly told that if they do not like it, its their problem. That's one reason governments need to be reigned in by well designed constitutions.

Re:Wow... so everything is aggression then (1)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677088)

People can already construe whatever they want as aggression, North Korea does it all the time, so what difference would it really make? The only thing that really matters is if at the end of the day your willing to start shooting and I don't think some treaty about talking is going to factor very strongly into that. Plus theres no way in hell countries like the US are gonna sign onto it.

Re:Wow... so everything is aggression then (1)

JonStewartMill (1463117) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677098)

Totalitarian governments could give a shit if outsiders criticize them. What they'd like to prevent (or at least make very difficult) is their own citizens doing so.

Re:Wow... so everything is aggression then (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677212)

That's the problem though, their own citizens hear outsiders badmouthing their government on the internet and suddenly those state run media guys just don't seem quite as trustworthy anymore. Maybe all of those minority ethnic guys didn't just commit mass suicide after all... Maybe it's possible to have a government with some form of accountability to the people... Why are we letting these jerks rob us blind and not give anything back anyway?!?

Re:Wow... so everything is aggression then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33677638)

Totalitarian governments could give a shit if outsiders criticize them. What they'd like to prevent (or at least make very difficult) is their own citizens doing so.

Oh they give more than a shit. They give two shits.

They do NOT like being criticized. Period. The end.

They do not take any criticism or dissent from their subjects so when people outside their fiefdom, who they can't intimidate and cannot punish start criticizing them, it really pisses them off to no end.

New World (4, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676822)

If you don't want to hear of all the wonderful ideas the rest of the world has, stop using the communications medium they use to spread them. It is not the problem of modern nations to ensure your citizens are not exposed to ideas that you don't like. Be warned that some of them may object rather strongly when their own government rips it away from them.

Summary is a troll (1)

clarkn0va (807617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677172)

If you don't want to hear of all the wonderful ideas the rest of the world has

Wrong. Compare this quote from the beginning of the summary:

anytime a government promotes ideas on the Internet with the goal of subverting another country's government

with this one at the end:

The Russians, and a lot of other countries such as Iran and China, apparently consider the free exchange of information to be an information technology threat

Two things immediately wrong with this: First, Korotkov, according to the former quote, is opposing the subversion of another government, not the free exchange of information. He's not talking about blogs and Linux isos, he's talking about propaganda. Second, if he posits that the internet should not be a permitted avenue for propaganda, how is this suddenly a threat to information technology? Pure hyperbole.

So demanding of a retort was this troll summary that I haven't even had a chance to read the article yet :(

Re:Summary is a troll (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677394)

On the internet, an idea is an idea, whether it comes from an individual or a government. You can't tell the difference, and one has no more or less weight than the other. The summary may be trolling a bit but not completely.

Definition of "propaganda" (3, Informative)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677446)

Second, if he posits that the internet should not be a permitted avenue for propaganda, how is this suddenly a threat to information technology?

There are three different ways you can use propaganda to destabilize an opponent:

  • Truth: "In America, the elected leader of the country is limited to two four-year terms." This is an unequivocally untrue statement.
  • Fiction: "Under Putin, the life expectancy in Russia declined from an average of 70 years to 54 years." This is an unequivocally untrue statement.
  • A Mixture of Both: "Russian society is stagnant because of Putin's rule." Portions of this statement may be true, portions may be false.

When one country is trying to destabilize or take down another country's government, the most effective approach is to use a blend of truth, lies, and mixed statements. The government attempting to resist outside propaganda will declare that all incoming propaganda are sheer lies, but the danger there is that the public will realize that at least some of the propaganda is true, which will make them suspicious about government statements about the false information.

But consider recent comments from Iran about America's use of the death penalty. The statement that we are putting a woman to death are completely true, even though the Iranian government is making the statement in order to cast America in a poor light. It would be easy under a system of rules designed to prohibit outside subversion, to classify such a statement as subversive propaganda.

Thus facts, lies, and mixtures of facts and lies can all be considered subversive propaganda. Is there any other form of discourse left after these three are removed?

Memetic Warfare (1)

Vekseid (1528215) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676870)

I'm forced to wonder how much the likes of Jesus, Muhammad, and Gandhi keep these sorts of folks awake at night. Someone wraps up an easily expressed idea about how the world should be in a world that needs changing and all of the sudden you have an immortal on your hands - killing them won't stop the idea.

Re:Memetic Warfare (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676948)

Actually, someone did come up with such an idea. See, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, a girl sitting on her own in a small café in Rickmansworth suddenly realized what it was that had been going wrong all this time, and she finally knew how the world could be made a good and happy place. This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to anything.
Sadly, however, before she could get to a phone to tell anyone about it, the Earth was unexpectedly demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass, and so the idea was lost.

(I find it interesting that Adams, an avowed atheist, boils down Jesus' message to "how great it would be to be nice to people for a change'. I think if that if half the Christians would understand that much the world might be a much better place.)

How dare they. (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676916)

Non-russian citizens should not be allowed to make criticism of the russian government which then has no way to send them to goulags for it!

1984 newspeak (4, Interesting)

StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676922)

If that can be illegal under international law, we will slid quickly to ideological and religious islands with physical and idea walls around. It is censorship for sure. Not unlike the laws against circumventing content protection schemes. Thats illegal.. When I saw we had done that then I knew we were going to see more tightening and control of information, for profit and in this case for political control (well that is a different kind of profit that controls profit). Years before there were laws passed that made it illegal to listen in to certain radio frequencies or transmissions. That I think may have been one of the first steps in this control of information slide. They acually passed laws that Short wave radio's in this country could only tune to certain frequencies, but of course the fix to open that up to other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum that bathes us all with its sunsine was easy and provided.

When will it stop, those that want to control and profit? Ya need to vote.

Re:1984 newspeak (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677036)

Ya need to vote.

Or just start killing them. Assassination politics, seriously.

Re:1984 newspeak (1)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677490)

Two thumbs WAY up!!

If the other three boxes [wikipedia.org] fail, better the limited and judicial use of the fourth rather than an all out engagement.

_

Re:1984 newspeak (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677194)

...we will slid quickly to ideological and religious islands with physical and idea walls around.

It's already happened. And if any of my fellow USians think we're immune, I have a bridge between Manhattan and Brooklyn for sale.

Re:1984 newspeak (1)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677408)

...we will slid quickly to ideological and religious islands with physical and idea walls around. It's already happened. And if any of my fellow USians think we're immune,
Wow, are you trying to be ironic w/ your use of the term USian or are you just a moron who doesn't understand the accepted term for someone from the United States of America is American. Or did you mean USian to be an abbrev. of United Mexican States?

Re:1984 newspeak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33677686)

Vote for who? Republicans or Democrats?

Easy solution... just cut yourselves off (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676936)

This doesn't need a UN charter or treaty to put such a plan in place. Any country that opposes the free exchange of ideas can just cut themselves off from the free world. Problem solved.

Re:Easy solution... just cut yourselves off (1)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676978)

They feel threatened by your ability to think such things! How can they sleep, knowing someone can exchange ideas freely! It must be stopped for their sake!

Or so they say.

Re:Easy solution... just cut yourselves off (1)

StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677078)

The problem is marketing, it works. Just look at the Republican parties' ability to pull the wool over everyones eyes. Claiming fiscal responsibility and running up record deficits, not once but every time in control, yet people were fooled and voted for them. That is the problem. It's so much easier if you don't have to fight a disinformation campaign or mount your own to counter the control threat. Look at the swift boating and other whisper campaigns that have been so evil and effective with a population that is too trusting (as they should be) with untrustworthy information mongers. They are just lazy all of them.

Re:Easy solution... just cut yourselves off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33677368)

"They can't stop the signal, Mal."

We Must Fight *Against* Cyber Warfare (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676958)

Because no rich companies will lose face or contracts like they do when we fight *for* better software less subject to attacks.

Yeah, I don't think so (4, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676962)

So you're annoyed that your carefully crafted message on your state owned media is being undercut by the free flow of ideas on the Internet? Yeah, I'm just not seeing what is in this for me. Do you have some treaty concessions you would be willing to make in exchange for keeping your stranglehold on what your populace sees and hears, because I'm not seeing how this is my problem.

Couldn't this just be a matter of altering... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676980)

... the UN charter so that it specifically excludes from its definition of "aggression" the expression of opinions or the communication of ideas between parties that themselves do not advocate or promote the use of any violent act?

Security Counsel Veto (4, Insightful)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676996)

This is a nonsense issue. Last I heard the US and Britain were on the Security counsel and would veto any attempt to get it though. This is just a way for those countries to say "we don't censor people, we protect them from attacks"

Catch 22? (1)

niall2 (192734) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677014)

By doing this, are other nations indeed not trying to attack the freedom of speech, religion, and press granted by the very founding charter of the US Government? Is that not in itself a form of agression on another countries Government? Do we then get to hear the UN say "Oh dear, I hadn't thought of that" and vanish in puff of logic?

Good News (4, Interesting)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677020)

If this passes we'll finally GTFO of the UN.

Re:Good News (0)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677182)

If this passes we'll finally GTFO of the UN.

For all of its flaws, exactly how do you see the world without it? In what way would it be better?

The US pushed for the abolition of the predecessor League of Nations and pushed for the establishment of the UN. If we sever the only on-going diplomatic relations forum we have, what do you think will happen? Is the US going to take its ball and go home and try to force yet another organization on everybody so they can try to run the show?

Seriously, I want to know. Because, saying you should GTFO of the UN makes you sound like an uneducated buffoon who thinks the US should just go it alone and tell everybody else to piss off. The US is far from an island unto themselves, and as dependent on the workings of the UN as everybody else. The UN is the only way to try to get nations to at least work together without resorting to war.

If you're going to whine about the US giving up its sovereignty to the UN (which is bullshit), I might point out that the US is the one pushing Free Trade and ACTA on everybody else -- precisely so that everybody else will more or less be subject to US laws.

This whole "UN Bad" reaction from Americans has got to be the most bizarre knee-jerk reaction I see here on Slashdot (a lot actually). The rest of us just don't get it -- it sounds completely irrational and not founded in anything other than some ramblings of Rush Limbaugh.

Re:Good News (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677310)

You don't really think the US would stick around if the UN passes a resolution that takes away or unnecessarily limits our freedom of speech, do you?

Sounds like you are the buffoon here, bub.

Re:Good News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33677554)

You don't really think the US would stick around if the UN passes a resolution that takes away or unnecessarily limits our freedom of speech, do you?

That's right; after all, we're not British.

Re:Good News (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677564)

You don't really think the US would stick around if the UN passes a resolution that takes away or unnecessarily limits our freedom of speech, do you?

God, I would hope not. If the US doesn't keep fighting for rights (even within your own country I fear, for they're being eroded) then we're all screwed. Same goes for all countries which have tried to move forward on rights and freedoms. That's not what I'm advocating here.

If the UN truly does become a race to the bottom whereby we all get the most restrictive rights, I'll be right there with you in calling for its downfall.

Sounds like you are the buffoon here, bub.

Maybe. I've been called far worse by people I care far more about ... but, my question still stands as to why I see a whole lot of blind reaction that amounts to "UN Bad" but I never see if explained or justified.

I'm not trying to bash you or the US, I'm legitimately trying to understand a very negative reaction I see a lot but can't quite piece together the source of it. It's usually in a context that implies that everything the UN does is bad and the whole thing has to go.

Re:Good News (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677698)

I'll answer your question with a question, because maybe, just maybe we don't hear about it via the mainstream US media: What good has the UN done for the USA lately?

The only thing we ever hear about the UN over here is how they are fucking this, that or the other up or kowtowing to our (the US's) ideological opponents.

(Also the current membership of the UN's Human Rights Council is a absolute joke)

Re:Good News (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677326)

hay no. Many of us understand the UN's law. Sadly we are in a period of time where the media presents morons and anger instead of actual rational, facts, and discussion. So everyone seems like a loon in the US.

Labeling the BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33677028)

You can only kill an idea with another idea. Trying to ban an idea won't work. But we all knew that.

It might be helpful though if blatant propaganda attempts could be mandated to be labeled as such. Let people read the information for themselves, but with the understanding that what they are reading may not be entirely true, may be quite biased/opinionated, and likely has a motive (of some external government) behind it to undermine one or more presently-held ideals, facts, etc.

If we could only apply this rule internally as well, as in the case of the U.S., anything coming out of the FOX News corporation (and other similar opinion-and-propaganda-presented-as-fact machines) could be appropriately labeled prior to public release so that even people who don't know or care or have the time to fact-check can know up front that what they are reading is probably bullshit. People like Jon Stewart have made entire careers just out of trying to keep up with the bullshit (and labeling it as such)--the average person can't possible be expected to keep up and fact-check everything. "News" organizations need to be held to proper journalistic principles and integrity by force of law (if not pride), or else be held liable whenever they willfully pass off lies as facts, and/or be re-designated as something other than a legitimate news organization.

But while we're at it, I'd also like world peace, a ton of gold, and a line of super-models out my bedroom door.... :(

Re:Labeling the BS (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677414)

It might be helpful though if blatant propaganda attempts could be mandated to be labeled as such. Let people read the information for themselves, but with the understanding that what they are reading may not be entirely true, may be quite biased/opinionated, and likely has a motive (of some external government) behind it to undermine one or more presently-held ideals, facts, etc.

It might be easier to label the information that is entirely true, is not biased/opinionated, and does not have a motive behind it. In fact, it's already been done. See any labels?

That was quick (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677040)

the Russian Defense Ministry argued that anytime a government promotes ideas...with the goal of subverting another country's government -- even in the name of democratic reform -- it should qualify as 'aggression.'

Too bad they didn't figure that out before the US encouraged all their citizens to give up (yes, the ideal of) social equality in favor of fancy clothes.

Ain't freedom a bitch? (5, Funny)

singingjim1 (1070652) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677178)

Just goes to show you that some societies (and apparently their "leaders" more so) just can't wrap their minds around the concept of freedom after so many years of oppression and state-sponsored censorship. I even hear some Russian ex-pats speak of how the people there have just come to expect oppressive government and even go so far as to embrace it now. As an American I can't wrap my mind around that, but I guess I understand the underlying reasons for it. Despite what some think about my government and some of it's people, I feel so very fortunate to have been born in the US and I remind myself - and stories like this also remind me - how truly fortunate I am to live in a free society. And dumb comments about how the US isn't really a free society will fall on deaf eyes. I love my country for better or worse, and not just out of blind patriotism, but because the ideals set forth to create this country are the best we've come up with yet. I truly feel for the people of oppressive regimes and hope that one day they get to bask in the warmth that is freedom of thought and expression.

Re:Ain't freedom a bitch? (2, Insightful)

kiwix (1810960) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677574)

I think you're being affected by the same kind of syndrome as those Russians...

Here in Europe we don't really consider America to be the Land of the Free anymore. To begin with, it's a pain in the ass to enter that country, and they take your fingerprints when they let you enter. Then you loose all your rights as soon as someone claims you might be a terrorist. It's a country were Freedom of Speech has been replaced with Political Correctness. Regarding elections, their campaigns are so expensive that you have to befriend someone with deep pockets if you want to stand a chance (and that comes with some strings attached). Consequently, their foreign policy is more accurately described as "we need oil" than as "let's give those people freedom".

Sure it's not as bad a a proper dictatorship, but maybe you should be worried about those issues, and not just blindly support your country. The original ideals were great, but they have been kind of subverted along the way...

Not a new attitude (4, Insightful)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677186)

Countries have complained for years about shortwave radio broadcasts doing the same thing. They just got around to noticing this "internet thing."

Seems most of you people missed "subversion" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33677204)

Seems like this would be a law against propoganda.... which is a great idea, isn't it?

We have libel and anti-defamation laws. How is this any different?

Re:Seems most of you people missed "subversion" (1)

Dr_Banzai (111657) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677610)

Seems like this would be a law against propoganda.... which is a great idea, isn't it?

We have libel and anti-defamation laws. How is this any different?

Domestic propaganda would not be covered by this law.

With no foreign ideas for competition, each country would intensify its efforts to brainwash its own citizens in whatever way it sees fit. (see: 1984)

The UN has been fixated on controling the internet (2, Insightful)

matty619 (630957) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677216)

for some time now. If they can get the internet classified as a weapon, well then they'll HAVE to regulate it!

Re:The UN has been fixated on controling the inter (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677288)

One of the UN's job is to define what is war.
At no point have they ever tried to get the internet classified as a weapon. They are trying to figure out what action a country can do on the internet that may fall under RULAC.

This is a good thing.

Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33677246)

What did you think they wanted to control?

Viruses? Spam? Hardly.

It's another attempt to go after Wikileaks.

Aww... poor widdle government (1)

poity (465672) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677262)

If you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen (or capital city in this case)

get with the program, East! (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677296)

If there is one thing you should have learned from those VoA broadcasts on more frequencies and with greater power than your jammers could muster, the correct method of winning information wars is not to restrict but to drown out with an even louder voice.

The US government has understood for over 200 years that it doesn't really matter what people say as long as you have a handle on the means to speak over them. This is following the British principle on which the US was founded: the best way to keep people in order is to give the appearance of propriety.

The free exchange of information must be preserved because it stops people getting curious about what is hidden. Allow so much noise to flow but make sure the ruling voice is coherent and you have already won.

Sigh (4, Informative)

thestudio_bob (894258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677328)

Just because you came up with a new name for it, its still "censorship".

Maybe they should call it "High Fructose Information Sugar" and people won't notice.

Non-story. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677448)

First, there's no evidence that the blood-stirring interpretation of what the Russian said was the least-bit correct. I would understand the posting by "a country" to refer to material commissioned by and paid for by the government of that nation or by agencies under its direct authority. A person is not a country and "a country" (being a geological formation) cannot post, so that's about the only interpretation I can place on it.

I think that postings by a Government on the Internet for the express purpose of attempting to orchestrate a military coup or a civil war in another nation should be treated outside of the framework of free speech for individuals. I'm not saying that such things should be banned altogether (though I can find no value in them - as I've posted before, I believe violence begets only violence and I see no good coming from such a path).

For someone to equate government pressure to bring down a rival government with, say, a critical posting by an individual on a blog - that's suspect at best and a shame on any who would use that kind of illogic to put forward their arguments. If you have no case with reasoning, then you can have no case without reasoning. Hyperbole and politically-charged speech adds nothing but hot air and bluster.

If you honestly do believe that the Russian referred to ANY posting by ANY person, feel free to reply with the evidence for this. I've backed down before when shown I was wrong. When I don't back down, it's because nothing has been shown and I don't retreat from shadows.

Having got that out of the way, I do believe that government-orchestrated disinformation campaigns and government-orchestrated coup attempts SHOULD be restricted at the very least, in an effective way. It's that last bit that is important. If any government - including the permanent members of the security council - is caught breaking International Law, they should be subject to penalties accordingly. At present, International Law has no teeth, it is merely a way to window-dress acts against another nation that the guilty country could never have got away with otherwise. That is not acceptable.

Now, this isn't to say I think the Russians should be allowed to get away with such statements without putting their own house in order. For example, the Russian Federation is just that - a federation of nations. If the Kremlin interferes in the affairs of any nation within that federation (other than Russia itself), it should be subject to those self-same laws and should be penalized accordingly. The same with Russia trying to manipulate Poland over what Poland can and cannot have on its territory by exerting fear and doubt into the Polish citizenry. Under such a law, this would have to stop and the UN would have to be willing to take the necessary action. No matter what. (Were this line to actually be taken by the UN, Russia would be the first to veto the law. The US would be second. Nobody else really matters in this.)

Interference in a society that is not ready to progress is rarely helpful to either those interfering or those interfered with. It can set both back a long way. In the case of the Middle East, persistent interference over the last 2,500 years is the main reason most nations there are an unhealthy mix of the Bronze Age with the Information Age. They will never develop unless they're allowed to.

I strongly suspect that those who claim to want to impose such-and-such a political or religious system on another nation actually have no such intent at all. It has never worked, in all of recorded history, and it is unlikely to start doing so soon. In the days of the Roman Empire, they didn't pretend it was for the good of the other nation. They were honest enough it was to keep Rome top-dog, with all other societies too fractured to rebel. Again, feel free to provide hard-and-fast evidence if you think I'm wrong. Appeals to my humanity won't cut it.

Now, again, this is interference on a large-scale as can only be done by a huge organization. We're not talking postings or actions by individuals here. Oh, yes, that includes individuals up to the level of, say, Lawrence of Arabia. He had an impact, sure, but not enough of one to disrupt a civilization. And, frankly, most of his actions were to stop people disrupting a civilization. That doesn't make him perfect or even necessarily right in what he did, but that's not important here. I'm strictly arguing the long-term consequences and you don't get long-term consequences from individuals.

(Watches for the inevitable "misunderstandings", flames, trolls and hostility.)

taken to the extreme (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677462)

they would just have to ban the keyboard, and reduce the internet to multiple choice questions, with either check boxes or radio buttons,

I have never understood (2, Interesting)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677500)

the deep-seated Russian desire for an iron-heeled boot on the back of their neck. FFS, Solzhenitsyn seemed to despise 'The West' (even while exiled in New Hampshire).

it gets worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33677524)

The next step: if non-state actors use so-called "information weapons", they will be labeled "terrorists". Extraordinary rendition (kidnapping), harsh interrogation techniques (torture), targeted killings by drone (assassination), the whole works.

impossible standard (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677702)

So, it will be illegal for governments to make propaganda and put in on the internet with the intention of affecting political change in a country other than their own. In the US, where propaganda is perfectly legal, we could argue all day about what is and is not propaganda. So, how does a foreign government make a serious attempt to catch other governments doing it? (spies, perhaps?)

Or will this just be a pretense for unjustified wars? The UN equivalent of yelling "it's coming right for us" [southparkstudios.com]?

Here we go... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33677728)

Sadly, the government will probably jump at this opportunity. "yes, the constitution gives you the right to free speech, however if you choose to use it we will have to extradite you to China to face trial there"

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