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Global Internet Governance Fight Looms

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the whether-the-bear-wins-or-the-fox-wins-the-rabbit-loses dept.

The Internet 155

QuietLagoon writes "The global fight among governments over control of the Internet is heating up amid a flurry of documents, the opening of the United Nations' General Assembly (GA) and next week's Internet Governance Forum (IGF). Will the change in Internet governance result in states like China and Russia exerting more control over what is allowed on the Internet? The United States has so far comprehensively outmaneuvered attempts by other governments to seize control of the Internet, helped by the fact that it holds the keys and represents the status quo. But how long will it continue to be able to do so?"

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155 comments

Retaining control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37534994)

The US will be able to retain control as long as the rest of the world continues to be bigger shitheads than the US government. This will be a long time.

Re:Retaining control (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535062)

Or until the dollar collapses.

Re:Retaining control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535786)

which wont take very long at all, mostly because the amount of shit-headiness in the us government.

better when... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535032)

The internet was better when engineers ran it, not politicians.

Re:better when... (2, Funny)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535078)

The internet was better when engineers ran it, not politicians

Yes, you're right. It was much better when it was nothing but usenet chatter about Star Trek and ASCII-art versions of Playboy centerfolds.

Re:better when... (2)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535240)

Now eternal september is upon the face of the net, and all is woe (hand wring).

Re:better when... (1)

Baron_Yam (643147) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535340)

I'm old enough to remember when Usenet became useless every September. Old enough to remember when it was USEFUL after the freshmen calmed down and grew up.

Also, after UUDecoding my jpeg pr0n, it took 10-15 seconds to decode a still image on my computer. Bah!

Re:better when... (1)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536460)

The internet was better when engineers ran it, not politicians

Yes, you're right. It was much better when it was nothing but usenet chatter about Star Trek and ASCII-art versions of Playboy centerfolds.

Oh, fsck off! [wikipedia.org]

"We believe in consensus and running code."

And besides, Vint Cerf hates your guts!

Re:better when... (1)

rgbatduke (1231380) | more than 2 years ago | (#37537564)

I dunno. Now it is nothing but facebook chatter about Star Search and Hi-res full length movies of naked women (and men, and sheep, and the occasional pony). Little has changed, in other words, but the volume and resolution.

I am still buoyed by the eternal truth: "The Internet interprets control as damage and routes around it." It doesn't really matter what political groups devoted to the repression and control of communication do at this point. Punching a hole through a control barrier is routine hackery that many pursue merely for the sport and pleasure at this point (witness the world's virus plague).

rgb

Bush was prophetic (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535056)

The world will be made up of Internets.

Re:Bush was prophetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535072)

Thank God Al Gore created the first Internet

Our future is at stake (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535064)

We must do whatever it takes to keep the Italians from using our nation's internet to spread their vile, savage islamocommunist propaganda and from spying on our daughters and wives with their web-cams. Italians are a menace to our nation's planet and our nation's internet and our nation's hot dogs, baseball, and God. Never forget, never forgive!

Hope the U.S. stages in charge. (4, Insightful)

digitaltraveller (167469) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535094)

U.S. is still one of the best places for free speech.
The criteria for any expansion of governance in an international context should be directly linked to a country's free speech laws. So theoretically countries like Estonia and Norway deserve some power, but in reality, the only people who care about internet governance are those who want to suppress free speech.

Re:Hope the U.S. stages in charge. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535192)

in the past decade, U.S has shown itself to be one of the worst (in the western world). you are living with blinders on.

Re:Hope the U.S. stages in charge. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535940)

The U.S has great free speech rights.. if you are a corporation or very very rich.

Re:Hope the U.S. stages in charge. (2)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538730)

Total BS. When have people been rounded up and prosecuted for exercising their 1st amendment rights of free speech? Keeping in mind that the 1st Amendment is not absolute and never has been since it's inception. There are certainly limits and exceptions that can be argued in open court when conflicts arise. If you have never lived in a country like N. Korea, China, Iran, Syria, Russia (getting better than the old USSR KGB controlled system but journalists are still being killed when they publish or persue certain areas of information).

Re:Hope the U.S. stages in charge. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535200)

With FBI blacklists and carte blanche human rights abuse within the US, the US does not support freedom of speech. The US is a police state, a plutocracy with two castes. The middle class has been eliminated gradually. All for the republican hope of being a millionaire... just a chance like any casino provides. You only believe you have freedom in the US if you believe the propaganda.

Hey now, don't give casinos a bad name (1)

mykos (1627575) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536738)

At least casinos will be up front about it and give you your odds of winning

Re:Hope the U.S. stages in charge. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535272)

The US could do better.
http://www.worldaudit.org/democracy.htm

The UN would be the best way to protect from any bad government. And you have to admit it. The US has had a few bad governments recently.

Re:Hope the U.S. stages in charge. (2)

readin (838620) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535720)

"The UN would be the best way to protect from any bad government."

The UN is made up of mostly bad governments. Why would they protect from themselves?

The UN isn't elected by people, it is made up of governments - many or most of which rule by fear rather than by legitimate democratic means.

The same UN that chose North Korea ... (3)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535778)

The UN would be the best way to protect from any bad government. And you have to admit it.

Really? The same U.N. that chose North Korea to head the U.N. Conference on Disarmament? The same U.N. that chose Gaddafi's Libya to chair the U.N. Human Rights Commission?

Re:The same UN that chose North Korea ... (1)

Pflipp (130638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536996)

Well, they obviously ask the right people to take responsiblility...

orly (1, Flamebait)

igreaterthanu (1942456) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535294)

U.S. is still one of the best places for free speech.

Mod [wikipedia.org] parent [slashdot.org] + [slashdot.org] 1 [slashdot.org] Funny [slashdot.org]

Re:orly (1)

mellon (7048) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535312)

I think "funny" does not mean what you think it means.

Re:orly (4, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535394)

Parent is correct. The US is one of the best places for free speech. The general situation is just that much worse.

Re:orly (2)

KeensMustard (655606) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535594)

The US is not a signatory to various important UN conventions on human rights. This means that while the US government might make a nominal effort to protect the free speech of it's own citizens, it has no obligation to protect the rights of the other 96% of the worlds population - and consequently, it makes no discernable effort to do so.

We (the 96%) consequently don't intend to entrust ourselves to such an organisation - better for it to be left to no-one, or otherwise the UN, who will, at least recognise my inherent rights and make some effort to uphold them. The US government does not, and would simply rollover and screw me if requested to do so by the Chinese or the Russians.

Re:orly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535650)

Signing a UN convention creates an obligation? Whatever.

the UN, who will, at least recognise my inherent rights and make some effort to uphold them.

"Some effort" by the UN is always so cute.

Re:orly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535750)

Especially when that effort is most often carried out by the US. So much for the US not making an effort, huh?

Re:orly (2)

readin (838620) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535742)

The UN isn't elected by people, it is made up of governments - many or most of which rule by fear rather than by legitimate democratic means.

A UN convention is more often a taint than an indicator of good intentions.

"otherwise the UN, who will, at least recognise my inherent rights" Is this the same UN that recognizes the inherent right of the People's Republic of China to do whatever is necessary to take away the freedoms of the people of Taiwan?

Re:orly (1)

KeensMustard (655606) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536150)

The UN isn't elected by people, it is made up of governments - many or most of which rule by fear rather than by legitimate democratic means.

The US government is not elected by the people either. In that the vast majority of people don't elect the US government, so they should not be subjected to it's whims. What is that saying? Oh yeah. No internet control without representation. Sound familiar? The British government of the 1800s was democratically elected, yet I notice that the unrepresented people of the time didn't find that compromise satisfactory.

A UN convention is more often a taint than an indicator of good intentions.

Was it good intentions that led to 100s of thousands of deaths in Iraq? What about Pakistan? Was the support for that brutal regime based on good intent? Continued support for Mubarak, even while people protested in Green Square?

The UN might be flawed, but it is not dictatorship, which is what control of the internet by the US government really means.

"otherwise the UN, who will, at least recognise my inherent rights" Is this the same UN that recognizes the inherent right of the People's Republic of China to do whatever is necessary to take away the freedoms of the people of Taiwan?

All the more reason for control of the internet to be given to no-one, or failing that, to the body most representative of our common interest. That is emphatically, and categorically NOT the US government.

The UN Security council is a mechanism established by the US, the UK and the USSR to ensure that the policies of the UN do not stray too far from the polices desired by the most powerful nations. Hence this gem, which is really an instrument of appeasement by the U.S (and others) toward China.

Re:orly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535774)

This is the same UN that has deemed fighting defamation of religion as one of its top priorities (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defamation_of_religion_and_the_United_Nations), right? Maybe you should start a separate internet with all of the countries in the General Assembly; it would a great way to test the hypothesis that pure democracy is inherently beneficial for individual rights.

Re:orly (1)

readin (838620) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535808)

Maybe you should start a separate internet with all of the countries in the General Assembly; it would a great way to test the hypothesis that pure democracy is inherently beneficial for individual rights.

How would such a test say anything about pure democracy? Not that many of the countries in the General Assembly are democracies, and none of them are pure democracies.

Re:orly (2)

atriusofbricia (686672) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535874)

The US is not a signatory to various important UN conventions on human rights. This means that while the US government might make a nominal effort to protect the free speech of it's own citizens, it has no obligation to protect the rights of the other 96% of the worlds population - and consequently, it makes no discernable effort to do so.

We (the 96%) consequently don't intend to entrust ourselves to such an organisation - better for it to be left to no-one, or otherwise the UN, who will, at least recognise my inherent rights and make some effort to uphold them. The US government does not, and would simply rollover and screw me if requested to do so by the Chinese or the Russians.

This would the same UN that had bloody Libya, Iran and Syria, among other bastions of freedom, on their Commission on Human Rights (now the Human Rights Council). You really think turning over the keys to the kingdom to that bunch of morons is a good idea? Really?

And if you really think the US would just do whatever China or Russia wanted with the Internet just because they asked I want some of what you're smoking.

Re:orly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37536664)

> This would the same UN that had bloody Libya, Iran and Syria, among other
> bastions of freedom, on their Commission on Human Rights

Umm, yes?

How better to prod such states into joining the mainstream than putting their representatives on the spot, making statements that are directly contradictory to their governments' policies?

It is actually genius.

Re:orly (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538246)

This would the same UN that had bloody Libya, Iran and Syria, among other bastions of freedom, on their Commission on Human Rights (now the Human Rights Council).

If we want those countries to respect human rights it is better to involve them in the process rather than just preaching at them. At the very least it forces them to consider the issues and form a diplomatic position on them.

Sometimes you have to work with the bad guys. We tried to stop the IRA by force for decades and failed, but once they were involved with the peace process and subsequent democracy they quickly came round and ended up working with their sworn enemies.

Re:orly (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37537054)

Parent is correct. The US is one of the best places for free speech. The general situation is just that much worse.

It's not funny, it's plain incorrect. In the western world it's one of the worst places.
The US government does not protect free speech and lets states, local governments, schools and other institutions and private companies restrict at will it sems.

I love being from Holland. Where "$#*! my dad says" is called "Shit my dad says".

Now I wonder.....

Re:orly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37537174)

He is?
http://news.slashdot.org/story/11/09/28/0323214/Libraries-Release-Most-Censored-Books-List

You might be better off than people in china or russia. But most countries don't have the capability to censor as much as the US does. Also the US is nearly hit rock-bottom among western countries.

Re:orly (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538808)

Mod parent up. It sounds like apologism or a "the other guys are worse" cop out, but it's the sad, sad truth.

Re:Hope the U.S. stages in charge. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535358)

Sorry bud but not any more.

Re:Hope the U.S. stages in charge. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535450)

the only people who care about internet governance are those who want to suppress free speech.

well duh, that's exactly why the US gov wants to retain control.

Re:Hope the U.S. stages in charge. (4, Insightful)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535730)

And in truth, no country NEEDS to come to any agreement about it. If china doesn't like facebook, they can try to police their people, or just cut the pipes off physically; and its up to the Chinese people to actually control their government and get what they want, if they even care. The same goes for every other situation out there, and even here in the US we may one day be faced with the situation where we use democracy to protect net neutral internet (right now actually) or literally stand up and regain democracy.

If a GOVERNMENT wants to modify, restrict, manipulate, etc, the internet within its capacity, its borders, then so be it. If the people who are responsible for that government, its citizens, are not in agreement with their own government, then its their duty to force that agreement by democracy or popular revolution. They are responsible for what their government does, theoretically and realistically. And no matter how much you can disagree with me or pretend you're not responsible, you still are; scarily enough, there is no opt-out for citizenship in the world. There's no designated anarchist area for those who disagree and won't be responsible. If you disagree but feel the country is out of control, its your duty to inform your peers and restore informed democracy. Participation is obligate; responsibility is inherent.

Re:Hope the U.S. stages in charge. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37537320)

I completely disagree. It is in no respect the responsibility of any given person to clean up the political mess. Or even to try. Freedom means they are free to ignore the problems that they have not directly caused. Claiming an obligation is just an attempt to push people to behave some way the claimant wants them to behave.

That isn't to say there are not good and valid reasons why cleaning up such a mess would be in someone's interest. But please stop trying to foist this moral guilt trip on people.

Re:Hope the U.S. stages in charge. (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538210)

The problem is that the US doesn't mind taking down foreign sites that use .org, .com or .net TLDs on the grounds of alleged copyright infringement etc with no legal recourse available. People on Slashdot often point out that some countries consider large parts of the net to be illegal because they show women no wearing full face veils etc. but apparently then it violates a US law it's okay.

The fact that the US controls all TLDs is unacceptable to many people. That includes individual country codes which the US still has the power to create and disable. There is also dissatisfaction with the way new TLDs are created, for example .xxx, and the way registration is handled. Even the distribution of IP address blocks is ultimately under US control.

We need an international body to handle that stuff. Currently there is not much anyone can do to challenge or hold the US accountable. While generally speaking that has not been a big problem yet, recent events suggest that it soon might be.

Re:Hope the U.S. stages in charge. (1)

Eastender (910391) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538358)

Where are my mod points?

Re:Hope the U.S. stages in charge. (2)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535796)

Why ? Are you seriously under the illusion that even 50% of the human race even wants free speech ?

I'm asking this question, not because I truly do not see the value of free speech, but because that's the question that's being asked in the "united nations" GA. There is general agreement that free speech and western imperialism are synonyms.

That's the real issue with multiple cultures. You best be prepared for the realization that there's exactly 1 culture that values free speech. All other cultures want big exceptions to that : Europe wants laws that forbid saying things that would be hurtful to the more sensitive politicians (e.g. "what exactly is the political history of barosso ?", "how exactly does the dutch monarchy use it's power ?"), or would be hurtful for large groups of people (e.g. "wasn't the prophet of islam a slave driver, child rapist, warmonger, thief and worse ? Are you teaching kids this sort of thing is okay, as long as victims are 'infidels' ?", even if you quote the evidence straight from "holy" texts), and of course everything that would threaten one of the very large unions. India wants any hint about the "ethnic" (in reality : religious) tensions in India erased from the internet, including anything about Pakistan (oh, and vice-versa). China ... well the list is *very* long there (e.g. "what exactly is happening in Tibet" ? and make no mistake, Chinese people do NOT want this attitude to change, especially not on the Tibet issue). And that's ignoring what the many dictators in the UN GA want, although their demands are quite tame compared to the above.

Even otherwise progressive nations like switzerland want their police force to have permission to do whatever it takes (and I really do mean "whatever" here) to take any violation of banker's secrecy offline. Specifically they would like to take a hell of a lot of opinions about the financial meltdown offline, because they give the impression private information is shared (e.g. an ex-banker saying he knows that "the management of X" did Y. That's a HUGE no-no in Switzerland)

Yes the US has free speech issues, I am in full agreement there. However, we should try to see the difference between the splinter and the board.

If the UN has it's way, free speech will be reduced to the lowest-common-denominator of all free speech laws. You don't want that.

Re:Hope the U.S. stages in charge. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37537398)

Europe's case is funny. Did you know that Germany's censorship was first introduced by the U.S. Army, which banned, confiscated and destroyed thousands of book titles, and censored the media?

So much for the US being a defender of Free Speech.

Re:Hope the U.S. stages in charge. (2)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536276)

I don't know...

I saw this study by Reporters Without Borders on freedom of the press [rsf.org] , and the U.S. wasn't in the top 10%. Then, I saw this study by Privacy International on privacy [privacyinternational.org] , and it wasn't pretty for the US. Freedom of speech must be correlated to freedom of press and privacy. And sure, you can find studies about everything with any result... these are mine. :)

My point is that maybe, not in theory but in practice, sharing governance is the way to go if freedom of speech is the key indicator.

Trust a result that rates censorship higher? (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536366)

Since Germany does not let you publish anything related to Nazis, and is rated in your list as higher in "freedom" than the US, it's obviously a meaningless list slanted politically to try and put the U.S. in a bad light.

A truly free press can publish anything. What other criteria should you use? Yet they appear to have a lot of other criteria that do not relate to actual freedom of speech or press.

Re:Hope the U.S. stages in charge. (3, Insightful)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#37537160)

Reporters without borders includes self censorship and financial pressure on journalists, which unfortunately means that in the US where you *can* publish anything, people tend not to publish anything too controversial, or that will lose them money, or that will annoy their sponsors, or that people will sue them over ... which means that a lot goes unreported

There are other countries were you cannot publish specific things, but almost anything else is allowed and not discouraged in the same way as it is in the US ...

Re:Hope the U.S. stages in charge. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37536918)

Oh boy you are so distinctively stupid! Have you been living in a cave during the patriot act, guantanamo etc etc etc?

We Created It, We Developed It, We Own It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535102)

Rest of the world, please butt out.
Sincerely,
The United States of America, The richest, mightiest, most powerful and influential nation in the history of mankind.

Re:We Created It, We Developed It, We Own It (2)

mywhitewolf (1923488) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535866)

American based Infrastructure can be routed around. the only control you should have over the internet is what is held within your borders. and you've already shown you can't be trusted hosting .com domains.

Re:We Created It, We Developed It, We Own It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37536116)

Go back to isolationism and your holy quest to bilk ever last dollar out of something. The rest of the world.

Re:We Created It, We Developed It, We Own It (1)

Elky Elk (1179921) | more than 2 years ago | (#37537156)

"Rest of the world, please butt out.
Sincerely,
The United States of America, The richest, mightiest, most powerful and influential at the moment, until the dollar ceases to be the reserve currency"

There, fixed it for ya!

Re:We Created It, We Developed It, We Own It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37537206)

Rest of the world, please butt out.
Sincerely,
The United States of America, The richest, mightiest, most powerful and influential nation in the history of mankind.

You don't own the internet, it's spread over just about the whole world. No one owns it.

As to your other claims. Have you not seen the US national debt? Many people ( and nations ) have been driven to poverty by the desire to convince people they are not poor.

ad hoc networking (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535106)

It's the only way to defeat 'governance'.. Nothing personal, mind you. It's strictly business..

Re:ad hoc networking (1)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535404)

it already exists. google represents a poofteenth of the "internet" at large

much of the internet underground is driven by ppp networks (including torrent clients and the like)

the corporate world is trying to take some measure of control over it (legal threats to torrent users) but it will never stop

the online porn industry is also a major supporter of internet anarchy, and its one of the most profitable industries in the world

if hackers decide to turn their botnets toward the root dns infrastructure, eventually it will be brought to its knees

Re:ad hoc networking (2)

JordanL (886154) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536330)

This is actually quite true. The Internet already exists in a state where it could be dismantled even in pieces. Botnets, or even organized effort, directly against the root DNS servers would already cripple the Internet in every meaningful way. Or DoSing certain important routers/switches in the network.

The point being, in this particular situation, governments can more easily censor, but people wield the WMDs. Self-destruction isn't a particularly good method of fighting, but suppose things began to change, ever so slight, in steps. How long do you suppose it would take for organized parties to cripple a key government network (externally of course, nothing that compromises safety would get enough people behind it)?

There is no off switch, there is not going back. At least not in the United States. They can certainly errode things... have the NSA or FBI pick up server records, suspend domain names of sites that perform 'undesirable' functions... but in the end, a threat to the basic tenet of freedom of speech on the Internet would result in the largest riots we've ever had in human history, most of them digital riots.

I think the US might have figured that out already. They've opened Pandora's Box, there's no keeping society completely in the dark any more. But the rest of the world has almost certainly not, and if the rest of the world forces things to come to a head, it would likely be the most widespread series of counter-governmental actions we've ever experienced in recorded history. You think that all your little drones in Democratic Banana Republic are nice little docile things? Wait until you take away the Internet. It has, in very short order, become one of the things that the masses have unconsciously said "No, this you cannot take away or things get bad".

I don't think people would jump straight to conflict or revolution, but if you gave it time, and things persisted, we'd either have a huge number of governments deposed, or we'd have at least one large-scale war between people who hijack their county's political process to use force on other people who are doing things they don't like.

At this point, the Internet in its "free speech" form has become an unremoveable part of human infrastructure. Its absence would cause major chaos and destabilization of the status quo, and guess what all the people who call the shots want? The status quo.

In the end, so long as they understand even the most basic concepts of cause and effect, I don't believe we'll ever see the entire Internet lose its free speech on large scales. We'll have to fight little brush fires here and there, where such-and-such website gets into a legal battle with the government, but not wholesale authoritarianism. Simply taking away the "right" to the Internet from everyone would be the surest way to insure that the status quo doesn't last very long.

Let's talk about some domains that got seized (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535116)

But how long will it continue to be able to do so?

As long as it doesn't start seizing domains arbitrarily, domains that have been ruled perfectly legal in their countries. Like rojadirecta.me. As long as people do not feel the need to create Firefox extensions to circumvent some stupid domain seizures, and as long as your government doesn't fuck with Mozilla to try and fail to get the extension removed.

Oh wait...

Re:Let's talk about some domains that got seized (1)

mellon (7048) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535364)

At present, you can't go to jail, or be compelled, to not run those extensions. This is actually a pretty big deal, even though I tend to agree with the sentiment of some here who think things are pretty bad WRT free speech in the U.S. We have a serious structural free speech problem, but we don't have government control of speech in the sense that it exists in a lot of countries.

We also don't have control over the Internet, something that TFA sort of glosses over. Control over the root zone of the DNS is not the same thing as control of the Internet.

Simple Solution (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535152)

Give each country its own DNS. Then create a simple, automated, neutral central hub that connects all those servers together.

That way, they can all play their own little games, and who the hell cares? The free and open parts of the network will still win out in the long run.

Re:Simple Solution (1)

exploder (196936) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535216)

Give each country its own DNS. Then create a simple, automated, neutral central hub that connects all those servers together.

That way, they can all play their own little games, and who the hell cares? The free and open parts of the network will still win out in the long run.

Riiiiight, that should be real simple, both technically and politically.

Re:Simple Solution (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535954)

Well, politics always dictate the solution. So yes, technically it would be a clusterfuck from there. But in theory, I could see each nation running their own set of root servers with trust relationships between. That's not to say however that your primary nation of residence will not override those records legally belonging to another nation.

Re:Simple Solution (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37537180)

"That's not to say however that your primary nation of residence will not override those records legally belonging to another nation."

Precisely. But who cares? Let each nation do whatever it wants within its own borders. The idiots will sink themselves. The others will prosper.

Re:Simple Solution (1)

Pence128 (1389345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535282)

Or do away with DNS all together. I can't remember the last time I typed in a domain name.

Re:Simple Solution (2)

Willbur (196916) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535352)

Give each country its own DNS. [snip]

Each country already has its own DNS. Country code domain names have been around for a long time. Maintaining the root servers that point to the country codes doesn't need to be an automated system. I'd hand it over to the group that agrees on the country codes: the UN.

What you're really suggesting is getting rid of non-country code domain names. All those 'blah.com' addresses would need to choose one or more country codes to occupy... 'blah.com.us' or 'blah.co.uk' or ... . This would be an improvement on the current situation, but it would also be a huge upheaval and I'm not sure the long term benefits are worth the short term cost.

But even once you've done that you still haven't solved all the problems. If a UK resident purchases from a US shop, whose laws apply? US, UK or international law? It is at least clear to customer that they're purchasing from an overseas entity, but that doesn't solve the legal questions. Things could get messier still: what happens if a .co.uk domain name points to a server in the US and there is an Australian customer? Whose laws apply then?

And lets not get started on the allocation of IP addresses... :)

For every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, neat and wrong.

Re:Simple Solution (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535652)

All those 'blah.com' addresses would need to choose one or more country codes to occupy... 'blah.com.us' or 'blah.co.uk' or ... . This would be an improvement on the current situation

Why? The contrary seems to be true at first glance. If a user fails to enter a country code there needs to be some default. What should that default be? The local country would often be wrong and users now need to know where the company is located.

Re:Simple Solution (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536074)

if you buy (online) from stuff.us then us laws apply, from stuff.uk then uk laws apply. Sounds simple to me.

Re:Simple Solution (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37537224)

It is simple. That's the way mail order has been working for close to 200 years, and I don't see any reason for it to change.

Re:Simple Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37537092)

> what happens if a .co.uk domain name points to a server in the US and there is an Australian customer? Whose laws apply then?

In the absence of sound legal arguments to the contrary, the answer should be assumed to be "all of the above".

E.g. if the transaction is illegal in any of those countries, that country's judicial branch is likely to assent to its executive branch taking action against it.

The UK authorities will be able to act against the .co.uk registrar, the US authorities will be able to act against the server operator and/or their ISP, the Australian authorities will be able to act against the customer. Likewise for any other parties involved, e.g. the banks.

> And lets not get started on the allocation of IP addresses... :)

Actually, the (re-)allocation of IP addresses may be the factor behind the latest move. We currently have private blocks (10.*, 172.16-31.*, 192.168.*) and routable blocks; soon we may have an intermediate tier of blocks which are private to a particular country or region (e.g. in the US, 13.* belongs to Xerox, in China it may end up belonging to a fast-growing ISP).

Re:Simple Solution (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37537216)

"Each country already has its own DNS."

I could have made that clearer. What I meant was to give each country its own root server for use within its own borders. Others could access domains on that server if it were open, but a country could choose to close it off if it wanted... it's theirs, let them do as they please.

But yes, each country would have its own TLD like now, except that every domain would be within that TLD.

I don't get your point about the laws... they need not be any different than they are now: buy from a US site, obey the laws that are applicable to the company that owns that site. Same with other countries. The intervening servers have, or should have, nothing to do with it. That would not make any sense, either now or under my proposed scheme.

Frankly, I don't see that many problems with the idea. I certainly don't think the things you brought up are actual problems.

Re:Simple Solution (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538228)

What you're really suggesting is getting rid of non-country code domain names.

HELL YES. There is nothing good about them. Let them all burn. Or more to the point, move them all under .us.

Re:Simple Solution (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535384)

"Give each country its own DNS. Then create a simple, automated, neutral central hub that connects all those servers together..."

(TLD4) "Ahhh, umm, Helloooo? Shit, who's country of computers do I gotta take over to get some respect around here..."

*YOU* can fight this. (1)

0olong (876791) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535202)

1) Deprecate SSL in favor of a web of trust; a decentralized pool of user verifiable certifiers as mentioned before on this site.
2) Use the above to encrypt all your web sites.
3) Watch as the concept spreads and a significant percentage of personal content on the web is encrypted as such, after which businesses and browser makers follow through by popular demand.
4) See the old status quo become deprecated. Meanwhile, all countries filtering this "illegal technology" see their internet go stale, and eventually give in to an increasingly discontent populace.

Of the above (1) and especially (2) face the worst odds, but they're also the points where you, Slashdot nerds, have the greatest power to make a difference.

Who are all these people? (3, Insightful)

cfulmer (3166) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535242)

Who are all these groups and people who think THEY have the right to control the internet? What happened to the idea that the Internet was going to be self-governing? The UN can't even manage its own budget.

Too much money being made to change anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535608)

And it is far too entrenched into reality to be radically and suddenly changed.

An election is coming up. Nobody is going to rock this boat.

There is a recession on and nobody is going to spend money.

This just is not going to happen.

Are these guys clueless? Why not take McDonald's or Coca Cola on? That would be much more realistic.

What is with all the push to tear up the IT industry by the roots, and start from scratch lately? I mean the BIOS, the Post PC world and now changing the basic structure of the internet.

And I will bet that these grand changers of the internet would squeal like bloody stuck pigs, if their email went down for just one second while they tore it up and redesigned the whole thing in their image.

Re:Who are all these people? (1)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535622)

Neither can the US, and they have a pretty atrocious record on free speech lately...

Re:Who are all these people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37537640)

Nor does the UN have someone as batshit crazy as Bachmann seriously considered for the top spot.

Re:Who are all these people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37537932)

Neither can the US, and they have a pretty atrocious record on free speech lately...

So give control to Canada.

Re:Who are all these people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535704)

Probably psychopaths.
http://thegrindstone.com/strategy/your-ceo-might-be-a-psychopath-or-not/

As to why, that should be more obvious: what is in it for them?

Re:Who are all these people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37536174)

They'll be able to manage their budget much easier with the new, "Internet Connectivity and Governance Cost Recovery Tax".

No one should rule. (4, Insightful)

Commontwist (2452418) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535280)

The best thing about the Internet was the tearing down of borders and connecting the world as one big place.

Governments (and some corporations) want to put borders back up. It's in their nature to attempt for more and more control over their fiefdoms.

Fortunately, most citizens are used to the concept of the Internet as it stands right now and governments are facing a lot of accumulated inertia.

Of course, the US government is tapped into a lot of their portion of the pie and China firewalls their nation. True global cooperation to control the Internet as a single entity is... unlikely anytime soon.

Personally, I really hope someone develops technology that can take control of the Internet out of the hands of governments altogether, creating a virtual country in its own right. Again, unlikely, but I can dream, can't I?

Re:No one should rule. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535550)

Let's split a photon into 1 billion parts and put each phot into a phone, and the prime phot in a satelite. When a conversation is spoken, everyone gets to hear it. Synchronicity.

US and EU have their own plans (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535298)

The US and EU have similar plans under NSTIC and Eurim_IdEa, which are public-private partnerships meant to shift casual web browsing into an identified state that's government-friendly. Watch what Microsoft and G+ do: probably they will both try to get a piece of this pie.

I'm not happy with "over there" smugness about China and Russia: western governments are also building serious tools to increase their power at the expense of civil liberties, and in the end I think the more subtle tools they're building are probably more powerful ones for manipulating political discussion than blunt blacklists.

When "Freedom" shifts...so will power. (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535322)

"...But how long will it continue to be able to do so?"

When the general view of "Freedom" is defined better by some other state, then I feel the power will shift. Right now, we hold the best definition, which is why we are favored. Whether that shifts or not entirely depends on our Governments continuance of tasteless discourse to destroy what many have given their life to defend. Our Military proves we are no match, but it will be the cancer of Government that will ultimately eat us to the bone.

Re:When "Freedom" shifts...so will power. (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535776)

Even if some majority of internet-using-nations decides to have a lesser sense of 'freedom' as a structure for the internet, my government will give me the freedom my constitution enforces. And if said majority tries to stop us, manipulate, or damage that freedom, I'll vote accordingly to send DEFENSE of my freedom wherever it is needed.

The rest of the world can give it all up for all I care, but its not happening here --- my point being that even if it happens here, it won't. We the people will be free, and we'll get it by democracy, through votes, or subversion through setting up our own ad-hoc networks.

Re:When "Freedom" shifts...so will power. (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535836)

"...But how long will it continue to be able to do so?"

When the general view of "Freedom" is defined better by some other state, then I feel the power will shift. Right now, we hold the best definition, which is why we are favored. Whether that shifts or not entirely depends on our Governments continuance of tasteless discourse to destroy what many have given their life to defend. Our Military proves we are no match, but it will be the cancer of Government that will ultimately eat us to the bone.

Wow; the best example of cognitive dissonance I've ever seen. You think you have the best definition of freedom but then go on to say you government promotes "tasteless discourse to destroy what many have given their life to defend". But, your "military proves you (we) are no match". Your government will "eat us to the bone". What was your original point again? Oh, that your government has the best defined general view of freedom. Umm. Huh? "What you talkin' about Willis?" Get off my lawn.

Re:When "Freedom" shifts...so will power. (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538052)

Wow; the best example of cognitive dissonance I've ever seen. You think you have the best definition of freedom but then go on to say you government promotes "tasteless discourse to destroy what many have given their life to defend". But, your "military proves you (we) are no match". Your government will "eat us to the bone". What was your original point again? Oh, that your government has the best defined general view of freedom. Umm. Huh? "What you talkin' about Willis?" Get off my lawn.

My point was by looking at the Constitution, we have likely the best definition of freedom. It's just too bad that we barely recognize that document anymore, and the interpretation of those freedoms have been hashed over and over through the years, slowly stripping them away, under guises such as the ironically titled "PATRIOT Act". That being said, it's still likely the best interpretation out there by comparison.

And yes, the upside is our military is no match. The downside is we've bankrupted an entire country proving or maintaining that.

Re:When "Freedom" shifts...so will power. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37538682)

What other constitutions have you looked at for comparison? Or just the one you determined to be the best by default?

Re:When "Freedom" shifts...so will power. (1)

mywhitewolf (1923488) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535926)

When the general view of "Freedom" is defined better by some other state,

.. well, freedom is well defined in the American constitution. if only it was applied to American politics.

Re:When "Freedom" shifts...so will power. (1)

iiiears (987462) | more than 2 years ago | (#37537360)

Just when each of us can afford a "printing press" the government decides we shouldn't any opinions.

Clear this up for me, We allow each government controlled DNS server to protect us from exposure to "harmful" ideas?

Dear World, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535540)

You are welcome to setup your own DNS hierarchy, IP address assignments, etc.

Sincerely,

The United States of America, a wholly owned subsidiary of CorpCo.

P.S. Get OFF MY LAWN!!!!

I'll tell you who SHOULDN'T have control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37535694)

If any group or nation WANTS control, that's a pretty serious indication that they're the last people who should be ENTRUSTED with control.

The Internet needs to remain as free as possible. Anyone who uses "control" in the same sentence as "the Internet" should not under any circumstances be given any power over the Internet.

Stupid lawyers and politicians (1)

jrbrtsn (103896) | more than 2 years ago | (#37535854)

Technology moves faster than law. As long as the Internet can route packets from point A to point B, the lawmakers will have little say over what those packets contain. We may be driven to encryption, darknets, or something besides DNS, but it won't really matter in the end.

Good news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37536314)

Quite frankly, I think that it is excellent news that China and Russia will be allowed to dictate what is allowed on the Internet.

I can't think of better punishment for the anti-US trolls than to give them exactly what they demand.

In the English-speaking western world... (1)

Xeranar (2029624) | more than 2 years ago | (#37536880)

The United States and to a lesser extent the European Union will continue to exert absolute dominance over the internet. If anything has been proven is that the internet is a loose association of cities (hubs) and highways (pathways). Non-English speaking countries essentially don't matter to the English-speaking internet except for Academia and Government reasons and both of those can rely on translation. What we may see occur is attacks on our hubs to try and break down the barriers or shut down our attacks rather than any sort of feudal control over the internet.

In other the words the future lays in whether or not China or Russia want to slap the English-speaking behemoth or whether we will quietly let them control the flow of free speech in their sphere of influence. If the past decade is any indication we're probably heading down the former rather than the latter as China gets more assertive and has to deal with a burgeoning middle-class that seeks outside information. Materialism can only quell the masses so far. Much like Voice of America is our propaganda over the radio the internet will become an inevitable battleground of ideologies. Short of China cutting the actual lines to the English-speaking western internet we're bound to filter in slowly if only rudimentary. But a crack in the dyke will eventually turn into a flood.

Then again perhaps I am merely an ultra-nationalist who supports some sort of fictional United States and desire a benevolent democracy of supreme power. But no, China and Russia are never going to dominate any part of the internet beyond their own language and with nearly half the planet speaking English the United States will continue to have an outsized position on the internet. Welcome to the 21st century, we're still kings.

Internet is international (2)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37537252)

The idea of states controlling even parts of the Internet is grotesque. The Internet is a network where almost any two computers can communicate, and it doesn't care about national borders. Globalization makes single states and their governments less and less important, so they try to seize new forms of power: power over communication.

Yeah, who is the one laughing now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37537480)

When people mentioned that Tor and the likes were a failed idea, that P2P DNS was a failed idea.
These will end up being the only safe place away from corrupt countries throwing their weight around too much.

No, encryption won't work, nobody will enforce it to the levels that is secure enough not to be cracked due to the huge increase in server load.
If every site could run through SSL, scratch that, even stronger encryption, they WOULD, but they can't afford it.

And this is if they don't all have a shitfit and just disconnect the lines entirely. I know that won't happen with most countries, the internet is big business, but it is still a possible future.

keys? (1)

cheaphomemadeacid (881971) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538744)

what keys? Since when did dns become 'keys' to the internet? Only reason the u.s has the root servers is cause they do the job, as soon as that ends, the so called 'control' ends.
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