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Moving Net Control From ICANN to Governments?

CmdrTaco posted more than 10 years ago | from the oh-this-will-be-great dept.

The Internet 468

a whoabot writes "The BBC has a piece by Bill Thompson suggesting that "control" of the internet should move away from corporate groups(ICANN and the Web Consortium) and to governments. We previously had an article on ICANN and the UN World Summit on the Information Society. One quote: "We allow images of consensual sex in our cinemas, but not images of bestiality or child abuse. Why should the net be any different?" My personal answer: because the internet should not be another TV or cinema, it should be a free, user-as-peer and user-controllable media; a "reversible" media, as Baudrillard would put it; not user-as-consumer."

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468 comments

FIRST POST (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218322)

suck cock. jews.

Re:FIRST POST (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218355)

yes, it's true. all jews are cocksmokers.

Re:FIRST POST (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218359)

q: why do jews have such big noses?
a: so they can SMOKE COCK THROUGH THEIR NOSTRILS.

Re:FIRST POST (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218373)

q: why are all jews cocksmokers? a: because the LOVE THE DICK!

Re:FIRST POST (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218396)

hahahahahah!!!!!!1 lolz GOOD ONE!

q: why do all jews LOVE THE DICK?
a: because they're FILTHY FAGGOT JEWS!!

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218323)

FP da man

FAILURE BOY SEZ: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218379)

YUO FAIL IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! smoke your mother's cock.

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

No, because... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218327)

beastie porn is a small price to pay for free speech!

Re:No, because... (5, Insightful)

qat (637648) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218425)

In all reality, shouldn't beastiality be permitted? As long as no laws are violated in the hosting country, it should be legit. For example, if beastiality porn is hosted in Pakistan, and it's not considered illegal there, why should it be censored? Its global viewing is just a possibility, if the intent is to please the people of the local country? There are no UNIVERSAL laws, and that's the way it should be.

Re:No, because... (-1, Troll)

yobbo (324595) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218529)

Because porn should be goat free?! This isn't your PC "everyone has different cultures" bs, this is human nature. Putting willies in things that aren't chicks is universally unacceptable.

Although i've heard those fleshlight things feel like the real thing. Any debian users got a review on hand?

Re:No, because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218463)

Beastie Porn is Free Speech

Give control to Switzerland (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218331)

or if not possible, any Scandinavian country. They have a very good culture of privacy. Plus nobody will ever tell the Swiss what to do or bomb them because everyone has their money there.

Re:Give control to Switzerland (4, Interesting)

Leffe (686621) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218393)

Sealand [sealandgov.com] would be a better choice methinks.

TUBGIRL WARNING -- MOD PARENT DOWN (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218450)

Thanks for that, pal. Won't be able to sleep all night. VERY disturbing images in above link.

ANTI-KARMAWHORE TROLL ON TEH SPOKE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218481)

Mod grandparent up, parent is a filthy troll!

ANTI-ANTI-KARMAWHORE TROLL ON TEH SPOKE! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218519)

Mod grandparent up, parent is a filthy troll!

Re:Give control to Switzerland (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218427)

Schweizland Schweizland uber alles!

Re:Give control to Switzerland (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218441)

And Switzerland worked with Hitler to loot all of Europe's money.

Fuck Switzerland.

Re:Give control to Switzerland (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218504)

And they certainly don't have anything against animal porn.

What a load of crap. (5, Insightful)

i_am_syco (694486) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218332)

The internet should not be the product of politics and debate. Absolute lunacy, and a totally stupid idea, as well.

Re:What a load of crap. (4, Informative)

AllUsernamesAreGone (688381) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218468)

Bill Thompson is a regular at this one - check some of his previous missives to get a good grasp of his general tone. The only explanations I've been able to come up with are that either he is as naive as a concussed duckling and really, truly believes that governments aren't populated with liars, cheats and control freaks or he is being paid to put forward ideas that no rational computer expert would in the hope that the unwashed masses will support things like government control, palladium and so on.

Re:What a load of crap. (0, Flamebait)

Karamchand (607798) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218546)

And you think there're any less liars, cheats and control freaks in "corporate group".
Maybe Mr Thompson is naive - but you're naive as well. :)

government control (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218334)

When its controlled by the government, it will be lobbied into a capitalist tool of consumer exploitation. Profit at its best.

Re:government control (1)

Chess_the_cat (653159) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218513)

As opposed to what? What Internet are you using right now? My Internet is flooded with ads.

Re:government control (2, Insightful)

cobbaut (232092) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218532)

"As opposed to what? What Internet are you using right now? My Internet is flooded with ads."

My internet is not [mozilla.org] .

cheers,
pol :)

adam smith (4, Interesting)

mr_tommy (619972) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218337)

Even Adam Smith 200 years ago realised that companies control important objects of society was a poor idea; the incentive for profit and exploiting the system for the benifit of the companies and their shareholders is just too much.

If it were up to me, i'd give it to a UN body. The last people i'd want to give it to is the US government, not because i'm anti US, but because i don't think one country should have control of such a multi-national object. The arguement that "we made it" doesn't hold any water.

Re:adam smith (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218369)

The arguement that "we made it" doesn't hold any water.

Why not? The US DID create it in conjunction with certain overseas research groups but the infrastructure was setup in the US. If other countries don't like that fact they are free to setup their own Internet and connect to each other.

Re:adam smith (1)

DarkFencer (260473) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218447)

Just make sure you 'other' countries pay your internet licensing fees to SCO, since I'm sure it is some how their property.

Re:adam smith (2, Flamebait)

tealover (187148) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218395)

It does hold water. The only way the US will let the UN take control is if the US doesn't exist anymore. And if we don't exist, you don't exist.

This whole concept of a world government holds no water with American people. It never will. If people from other areas aren't content with the internet...implement your own. It's as simple as that.

Re:adam smith (1)

starm_ (573321) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218490)

And you americans wonder why the rest of the world can't stand you. That kind of attitude just shows your complete unwillingness to cooperate with there rest or the world for the good of the planet.

Re:adam smith (3, Interesting)

tealover (187148) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218514)

We don't care what you think. Haven't you learned by that now?

To suggest that we'd hand over control of the internet to a body that allowed Libya to head a commission on human rights violations or lets China prevent Taiwan to gain representation...it's sheer lunacy.

Again, Europe and S. America and others may worship the UN. Americans do not. If you want the UN to control something, then you invent it and hand it over to them. We would have no problem with that.

Re:adam smith (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218507)

If people from other areas aren't content with the internet...implement your own. It's as simple as that.I can still remember the day I looked out my window and saw the American government workers installing the internet cabling around my country so that we could use the internet... err pull your head out of your ass. The protocols are open, the infrastructure outside the USA is not owned by the USA.

Re:adam smith (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218534)

If people from other areas aren't content with the internet...implement your own. It's as simple as that.

What? Do you think the whole internet is run and maintained by Americans in the US?

If the US claimed it as their own, they would have their own private network, while the rest of the world would continue using the current internet as if nothing happened.

And where do you think all of the cool stuff would end up?

Re:adam smith (4, Insightful)

NeoThermic (732100) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218404)

>>If it were up to me, i'd give it to a UN body.

And why do you think the UN body would do better?

Its a bad opinion to say that a Gov. of any type or description should control the web. Look at china, where the Gov. tries to control what is read and seen on the net. What has it done? Its only created the need to bypass what prevents them from doing so.

If you give the control to a Gov. body, weather it be from any of the offical 192 countries (192? i think its about that many...) in the world, you destroy the point of the web, which is what it is now, its avaiable to all those who can find it.

Its not restricted, confied, censored, or banned to the masses of users (unless you happen to be under control of a admin or netnanny style software). And it should stay that way.

NeoThermic

Re:adam smith (5, Insightful)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218428)

Giving control of something to the UN is the best way to insure it'll get censored and controlled the most in the near future.

Re:adam smith (1)

klaricmn (244131) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218444)

If it were up to me, i'd give it to a UN body.

And you thought a DNS change took a long time to propagate now. Just wait until these changes have to be brought up for debate and vote on the UN floor as well.

Re:adam smith (4, Insightful)

another misanthrope (688068) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218462)

It's really wonderful that the United Nations wants to help one- armed chicken farmers in Bangladesh surf the Web. But maybe these sanctimonious bureaucrats should focus on more pressing issues - like providing plumbing, electricity and medicine - before obsessing over whether malnourished children in Ethiopia have DSL access. Besides, the only Macintosh a starving North Korean wants to see is the bright red fruit. And what good does a flat-panel monitor do if reading the opinions expressed thereon gets you hanged from the nearest apple tree? As with most U.N. summits, there is a dark side to this all-expenses-paid cocktail party in Geneva. Countries like China, Egypt, Syria and Vietnam are lobbying hard to wrest control of the Internet from the United States. Despite ICANN's weaknesses, giving U.N. bureaucrats the key to the Internet's chastity belt would be a certain disaster. For starters, if the United Nations had to pass a simple resolution stating "the cyber-sky is blue," it would take three years and include a condemnation of Zionism. Getting scores of U.N. member states to agree on complex technical standards would be next to impossible. But there's a much bigger problem with giving the United Nations regulatory control of the Internet. Despite the sunny charm of countries like Cuba and Iran, the United Nations is populated with many despots who strive to censor anything that might enlighten their own people. They regard freedom of speech and individual rights - which are the life-blood of the Internet - with contempt. In some countries, sending the wrong e-mail can get you killed. These tyrannical regimes would love to regulate cyberspace through the United Nations. But the Internet doesn't need their help. It already works splendidly well. Indeed, for many of the world's oppressed people, the Internet is a source of liberation, where they can access uncensored information. Ruled largely by free-market forces, the Internet has become one of the miracles of our times. Sure, cyberspace has its problems. But if you think pop-up ads and spam are annoying, wait until China and Syria start meddling with your e-mail.

One person's vice is another persons virtue (5, Insightful)

DarkFencer (260473) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218342)

The problem with government control is 'which' government? How do they agree? A lot of governments wouldn't want anything opposing the dominant political group/party/mindset. Other governments wouldn't want any religious references to anything other then Jesus/Buddah/Muhammed/etc.

If a government wants to impose restrictions on servers in their own countries, fine, but not outside.

Conflict of interests (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218345)

Network solutions shouldn't have been allowed to get into any business besides selling domain names and providing DNS. Anything else (like selling ads on their sitefinder) and there is a risk they will do something to DNS to promote their other products rather than improve usability (as they did). They shouldn't even be allowed to send unlimited e-mails to domain name owners.

TLD registrars and DNS providers should be small companies, run by people who are content to do a job and make a small profit, but not have unlimited freedom/growth potential of a private company that doesn't provide any exclusive service to the public.

I hope ICANN moves in that direction right away and not even bother with separate lawsuits for various small points.

Private Industry is always better (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218346)

Those who disagree with this statement are un-American Traitors who belong in Git-Mo.

Fallacy? (1)

Kevin_Cedrone (415009) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218350)

I think the problem here is that most people will think that the internet is either entirely its own thing, or a computer-network equivalent of television, that it is EITHER one thing OR another. In fact, it can have some of the same attributes of TV (like superbowl half time shows...) and none of the others (commercials every 3 minutes, content regulations, content restrictions). There is an error in thinking it must be an extreme case of either. Some error of logic that probably has a specific name.

I think the internet must be subject to certain restrictions (e.g. pedo-porn, bestiality) but that number should be small.

Re:Fallacy? (1)

BHearsum (325814) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218402)

Who sets the limit though? If it were up to some religious groups, I'd be willing to bet that most things on the internet right now wouldn't be here. I'm not saying I'd personally want pedophilia or beastiality to continue. But I don't want someone else telling me what I'm allowed to see. If they really wanted to stop pedophilia and beastiality they should track it down to it's source and prosecute the individuals involved.

VERY presumptious... (4, Insightful)

bc90021 (43730) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218352)

The articles author starts out with "How to control what is online..." but never asks the question if it should be controlled. (To a very limited extent, yes, but certainly not to the degree he's suggesting.)

Then, he goes on to give an example of a woman who was killed by "someone whose fantasies of killing were nurtured, if not engendered, by the pornographic images he found so easily on the web". I find it difficult to believe that someone went from being a perfectly normal person to a killer sjust he viewed some internet porn. (If that were true, half of Slashdot readership could turn into killers! ;) )

Then, his solution to all this is to let the government control the internet, and to "change" it to support that control. There are two problems with that:

1) The government is not some giant parental figure who's supposed to protect us from harm, no matter how much liberalism would like us to believe that. ;) We're responsible for our own actions.

2) Since he suggests "changing" the internet, but provides no plan on doing that, I have to question whether he has any idea of what would be involved. Market-driven forces are the only thing that really make significant changes now, and giving control the the government would completely undermine that. It would have to be in the interest of the market to have changes made to the internet, and until that happens, change won't.

Re:VERY presumptious... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218445)

1) The government is not some giant parental figure who's supposed to protect us from harm, no matter how much liberalism would like us to believe that. ;) We're responsible for our own actions.

You misspelt "conservative."

Well, conservative as in these "neoconservatives" these days - they seem to want more government control and interference with our personal lives than any liberal I've ever come across.

if this happens (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218354)

i will kill myself.

Soon to come afterwards... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218358)

... myDNS.

C'mon, we always dreamed of an internet in which all the subversive stuff would be only available to people in the know when playing Cyberpunk 2020 in the early 1990s anyway...

I love these lame justifications for regulation (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218361)

Someone, somewhere gets murdered and the victims blame the internet. Johnny Lydon curses and someone gets their panties in a bunch.

There is no aspect of anybodies life that the government does not seek to control. They will attempt to control the net. There will always be some whining class of people victimized by something they see as evil. Government now switches between liberal/conservative politicians each with their own sets of victim classes expecting special treatment. I don't expect the future to be bright for an unregulated internet.

Bill Thompson is a moron (5, Insightful)

adrianbaugh (696007) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218364)

I guess he's a columnist and therefore paid to think the unthinkable, but there are more productive ways of doing that than by making yourself a laughing stock whom nobody listens to. A simple search of this site would have given him an idea of the problems with "just replacing email with something better and spam-proof", and that's a tiny part of what he's suggesting. The way the internet is built may have aspects that suck pretty badly, but like it or not we're stuck with it. Perhaps if someone had made these suggestions in 1990 there'd be a chance of replacing it wholesale, but not now. Too much has been built on it.
Besides which, he'll need to do a lot more to convince me that the internet is better in the hands of governments than bodies like ICANN than just say "because I say so". He glosses over issues like repressive regimes with little more than "well if the people don't like their government they can always kick them out".
If this was a one-off piece I'd be prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt but you can read for yourselves his previous pieces on the BBC website - they're almost without exception inane, badly-researched drivel.

Tolkien is a moron (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218398)

I friggin' hate Tolkien! He is such a fag!

Stupid Stupid Stupid (5, Insightful)

BHearsum (325814) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218365)

Who the hell trusts their government? Who the hell wants someone else to tell them, and everybody what they can and cannot see. Information should not be controlled, and it can't ever be completely controlled.

Re:Stupid Stupid Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218416)

Europeans trust their governments. Or so they say. I guess Germans trusted Hitler.

Bill Thompson is an idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218374)

...and a prentious one at that. You can rest assured whatever the prevalent geek view, Bill Thomson will differ. He tries so desperately hard to make everybody think he is knowledgeable, and represents US, but the guy is a tosser and and an ignorant one at at that.

He thinks because he has a beard he has the right to put right the geek community. He is seriously that shallow. We shouldn't even waste breath on this guy.

Wanker.

Well as suggested (0, Flamebait)

mattboston (537016) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218376)

by someone(I can't remember who), it should not go to the UN or EU. Last I remember the internet was created here in the USA.

Re:Well as suggested (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218423)

Hullo ??? The Internet is worldwide... Of course, UN is a bad idea, but giving control to a government will surely lead to changes in internet control (Left-wing = freedom / Right-wing = control / extreme-any-side = absolute control - the end)

Please, don't give an atomic bomb to a kid. You never know what it may do when he'll be older.

Re:Well as suggested (5, Informative)

kyknos.org (643709) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218453)

yes. but the world wide web, which is the most important part of internet today (and the part which is used by muggles and other non-geeks almost exclusivelly) is European creation (CERN, Switzerland)

Censorship... (1)

qat (637648) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218383)

Good call, the internet is about freedom-- Fahrenheit 451-- awesome book to read, and that's what the world is coming to (in a less extreme level, of course). Censorship sucks, considering I own www.pleaseeat.us and i'm sure that the domain will get suspended sooner or later... goatse.cx had it happen to them.

Impossible (3, Insightful)

bluethundr (562578) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218394)

One quote: "We allow images of consensual sex in our cinemas, but not images of bestiality or child abuse. Why should the net be any different?"

Not only should the internet "...not be another TV or cinema, it should be a free, user-as-peer and user-controllable media an essential (perhaps the most) tenet of "hacker metaphysics" is that "whatever one mind can achieve, another can duplicate and surpass". Control the content of the Internet? Impossible. Just ask the Chinese [slashdot.org] .

Governments are worse, not better! (5, Insightful)

stevens (84346) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218400)

Government control is worse, not better!

  • If a company gets dictatorial, we can boycott its revenue stream. Governments never relinquish control short of a revolution.
  • If a company makes terrible decisions, we can set up an alternative system. Companies can try to make your life harder, but governments can actually use force in outlawing another system.

On the whole, government control of these resources is a bad thing. The best thing is to engineer it so that is no need for a single governing body at all. That way there is no lock-in to any governing body.

Aren't there already several alternate roots for DNS we could all be supprting? That's the way to keep DNS free--have many competing providers. Some can be corporate, some volunteer.

As for ridding the system of assigned numbers (IANA), that's tougher.

Re:Governments are worse, not better! (5, Insightful)

cherokee158 (701472) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218502)

I think that is an interesting argument, but I disagree. Once a corporation is large enough, it can rely on such a diversified number of investments for revenue that it becomes effectively impossible to boycott. It bears responsibility to no one but it's (generally very wealthy) shareholders. I prefer government. At least a democratic government is theoretically accountable to it's voters.

Re:Governments are worse, not better! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218511)

If a company gets dictatorial, we can boycott its revenue stream. Governments never relinquish control short of a revolution.

Apartheid was overturned in South Africa by a consumer boycott.

If a company makes terrible decisions, we can set up an alternative system. Companies can try to make your life harder, but governments can actually use force in outlawing another system.

If your government is using force to stay in power, having ICANN control the internet isn't going to help you very much.

perfect... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218405)

Just great... Let's give the government more power.... Let see our free speech, and digital civil liberties erode when/if the government takes over control of the net (which is futile anyways)..

Governments cannot be trusted because their is too much corruption (aka lobbyism).

If we had a United Digital Nations, then maybe it wouldnt be as bad, however it would still give the U.S. power to bully other nations because the U.S. "is always right", you know, just like the war with Iraq was 100% right...

The Net should be controlled purely by the people that use it. That means everyone, every slashdot user, every joe blow internet user, not by corps (like it is now), or worse even government. This medium has the ability to continue to change the world for the better (hopefully). Atleast it would have the ability to unite us closer, and IMHO that is what its going to take to solve a lot of these problems in the world we have today, not by being repressed by some corporation or lobbied government...

Gah, I'm disgusted (2, Interesting)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218406)

It may be fucked up now, but how much do you want to bet that Gov't can fuck it up even more? At least business and industry consortiums have a profit motive; governments only have a power motive.

Re:Gah, I'm disgusted (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218461)

Wrong, business and industry have both profit and power motives. If government can fuck it up, industry will fuck it up even more ( and without accountability).

klerckesque (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218409)






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2nd verse s@me as the 1st (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218435)






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Re:2nd verse s@me as the 1st (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218464)









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22nd verse s@me as the 21st (0)

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LAMENESS FILTER IS TEH SUCKY-SUCKY!!!!!!1111one







The quality of Slashdot discussion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218410)

I feel that Slashdot is the bestest of all discussion sites on teh Intarweb. The signal-to-noise ratio is so high! It's a good thing we all get along and have a functional moderation system. I love Slashdot!

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218487)

I gots the Slashdot love, too!

asl?

Re:MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218509)

14/yes please (LOL!!!1)/my parent's basement with my linux computer DUAL CELERON with windows and neon litez LOLOLOL

so r u chix or?

Enough, might be enough, soon enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218418)

Stupid people like this BBC a**hole are *asking* for terrorism.

Why should anyone... (2, Insightful)

SnowWolf2003 (692561) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218430)

have control of the internet. It is the best and the worst of society, and while I agree it should be policed by enforcement agencies against crimes committed by citizens of that country that are illegal in that country, it should never be up to those same countries to censor content that may not be illegal in other countries.

There can also be standards bodies, who are a community of users who recommend standards for the rest of the community to follow, but they should not have control either.

Disagree? Reply, don't mod down.

Government should be controlled (1, Insightful)

grunt107 (739510) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218431)

- not free speech. If the Internet were ever government controlled, their actions would become more anti-freedom and pro-tyranny. A perfect example of this comes off the news today. The story of a serial killer in Canada is being quashed in Canada BY THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT!! There should be unified identification methods to allow the people to decide what they want/get to see, but that is the end of it. Personal responsibility should be the new benchmark to which everyone adheres.

This is maybe slightly offtopic, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218436)

I'm a student of Darwin. I believe that we should stop supporting such obviously inferior countries as Africa and let them self-destruct without intervention. It's Nature's way. The US, et al, seem to think that if they dump enough money into this dodo-bird of a continent that it will somehow recover, but the truth is that we're only delaying the inevitable extinction. Instead, use the money to help developing countries that at least have a chance of succeeding, like those in Latin America.

Also, once the dodo bird is dead, we can use the newly-empty continent to store our garbage and nuclear waste. It's a win-win situation.

Insane (2, Interesting)

Potor (658520) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218442)

"We allow images of consensual sex in our cinemas, but not images of bestiality or child abuse. Why should the net be any different?" My personal answer: because the internet should not be another TV or cinema, it should be a free, user-as-peer and user-controllable media; a "reversible" media, as Baudrillard would put it; not user-as-consumer.
D you not realize how idiotic your reply is? You are actually begging them to regulate it, if you think out-loud that it should be a haven for criminal content. You do accept that child abuse is criminal, don't you?

btw, Baudrillard's audience is rapidly shrinking to lit-crit departments, and those who find the Matrix to be philosophical. His chief use to scholarship is to provide the muddle-headed with clever sounding catchphrases that can be bandied about with abandon.

Re:Insane (5, Interesting)

NixLuver (693391) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218535)

"D you not realize how idiotic your reply is? You are actually begging them to regulate it, if you think out-loud that it should be a haven for criminal content. You do accept that child abuse is criminal, don't you?"

"Idiotic" is a bit strong. The Constitution of the United States says that there is no 'criminal content'. Images of child abuse would be evidence of criminal behavior. Let's not confuse the issue by muddying the waters with emotion. I believe child molesters should be shot; send 'em back, they're defective. But let's examine another 'crime', any crime... like, say, defacement of public property. Does the fact that it's illegal to deface public property mean we should remove all pictures of graffiti from the internet as 'criminal content'?

I have no objection to an investigation into the handles used on graffiti websites; but banning the content is the wrong way to go about it. That's why our constitution opposes censorship.

And I don't care what Baudrillard says; the Internet was the first taste of true expression available to everyone who can get into a public Library.

In the end, that last sentence is what will doom the Internet. Big Business and the Government cannot condone a situation where some geek with a webserver is equal in venue to say, Ford, or Wal-Mart, or CNN... They cannot tolerate a truly free forum, and will do their best to convince you that you cannot, either. In your case, it appears that they have been successful.

I never knew England was this different. (1)

Cryp2Nite (67224) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218452)

"We allow images of consensual sex in our cinemas, but not images of bestiality or child abuse. Why should the net be any different?"

Since when are cinemas run by the state over there?

The Wrong Approach (5, Insightful)

NixLuver (693391) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218454)

Of course it's ridiculous to 'give' control of the internet to 'corporations' or to 'governments'. How many times have we seen poor decisions based on a lack of information in normal life? What happens if Communist countries decide that .com is an epithet - or a violation of their economic philosophy - and pass a law banning it? Or how many governments will require a governmental firewall at the 'ingress' of the network into their country?

And if we give it to 'a' country - like the US government, who already seems to think they own it - we'll all be more subject to their insanities.

In addition, the whole concept of 'excluding content' is simply the wrong way to go about it. Censorship never accomplishes its goals, nor does it elevate content. Any step in that direction is a 'foot in the door', and excluding things because we find them objectionable is poor practice; I can probably find someone (or even a 'category' of someones) who dislikes what any given post on /. says.

The way to deal with child pornography is not "banning" it; it's prosecuting people who create and purchase it. It's working to fix the economic problems that create situations where parents will submit their children to such indignities; it's finding the sick bastards that molest and photograph children in the more affluent parts of the world. It's not giving some entity a mandate to protect us from viewing something we find offensive - because it's only a short step to protecting us from viewing something they find offensive. Like, say, open source software that doesn't honor DRM legislation.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

Call me prudish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218457)

>"We allow images of consensual sex in our cinemas, but not images of bestiality or child abuse. Why
>should the net be any different?" My personal answer: because the internet should not be another TV

There is no reason why we should allow things like that on the internet, it is much harder to catch the offenders and it might require international cooperation (or even be impossible if some country decides it wants to make money by protecting them). Never the less there are no reasons to ALLOW it on the net.

Ofcourse thats not an excuse to pass new laws and grant the government addiotional rights, but thats a diffrent issue.

Damn Government (3, Insightful)

Huezo (731357) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218458)

The Internet is about freedom, not about censorship by the Government. Screw Them.

Nothing to see here--this article is a troll (4, Insightful)

jdbarillari (590703) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218460)

One part of the problem is that the net's standards are controlled by bodies like Icann and the Web Consortium whose primary interest is technical stability and corporate interests.

[...]

Before we can change the net, and make it more able to reflect the real public interest, taking it under democratic control, we must remove it from the hands of these groups, whose time, like that of the elves in Middle-Earth, is over.

Note the excessively arrogant language, and the prevailing assumption that the author is already right, and the implication all that remains is to hammer out the implementation details of his perfectly reasonable proposal. This is pure flamebait. Thompson might as well have called this "A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Internet from being a Burden to the Children and Despotic Governments of the World, and for making it Beneficial to Media Conglomorates." [art-bin.com]

I'm tempted to guess that he wrote it with the intention of raising the ire of slashdot readers, and getting the expected bazillion comments that every idiotic net-reform proposal gets.

Of course, there's always the chance that he really did think the proposal reasonable, and didn't intend to be trolling. If you believe that, check out his closing paragraphs:

Of course, one consequence of giving control of the net to governments is that some governments are bad, prying on their citizens, denying human rights and reneging on international obligations.

But not everywhere is the United States or China, and I would rather see the network in the hands of governments who can be lobbied, replaced and argued with, than leave it in the hands of the large corporations who develop the programs or standards bodies who are blind to people's real interests.

Lumping the United States with China on a list of countries that "[deny] human rights"? News flash, Thompson! Can you guess what would have happened to Dan Ellsberg [wikipedia.org] if he'd stolen the Pentagon Papers from the British government and published them in the NY Times? He'd STILL be in jail under the Offical Secrets Act [hmso.gov.uk] ! (Of course, the real irony is that Thompson is complaing about the U.S.-controlled internet because it's too free.) Your flamebait counter should be redlined about now.

It's a troll. Nothing to see here, move along.

Nobody should "control" it. (5, Insightful)

Daniel Baumgarten (645894) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218466)

Part of the beauty of the Internet is that no single entity has control over it. It's simply a giant network; you can do anything you want with it, whether it's mirroring the Linux Kernel Archive, running a domain name registration business, or hosting pornographic images.

I don't think these people have quite the right idea of what exactly the Internet is. It isn't just another distributor/consumer medium, like radio or television. The Internet is an interactive environment in which information is distributed on an on-demand basis; that is, the user chooses what content is delivered to him. Because the medium is "ask and ye shall receive," rather than "we're stuffing this junk down your throat whether you like it or not," such stringent control of content as that found on radio or television is really unnecessary. On the Internet, any user who knows what he's doing will be quite capable of protecting himself.

Unless, of course, your goal is to stifle the free exchange of information...

True. The internet is not TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218533)

The internet is the modern equivalent of the post office or phone or public cafe. No-one except repressive governments censors the phones, mail, or public conversation.

Sure there are some restrictions (you can't send anthrax through the mail or yell 'fire' in a crowded movie theatre) but over all, it's free.

Welcome to communism. Pass the bread? (1)

Stupid White Man (750118) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218470)

Idiocy at its finest. The last thing we need is a censored internet as broadcast television has been censored. Some countries have prohibitions and regulations which stop their "netizens" from viewing any such content which that government deems "inappropriate". I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't live in Vietnam or North Korea because I choose not to.

I'll take my internet uncut please. Thank you.

This is not surprising... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218474)

...For a news organisation that's becoming government controlled in itself.

Get rid of that so called "geek" and bring back the bastions of independance of the BBC - namely Greg Dyke and Gavyn Davies before Britian slides into a New Labour totalitarian tate, with the BBC as its lapdog.

Re:This is not surprising... (1)

Oen_Seneg (673357) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218538)

In case you didn't know, the guy's referring to the fact that the Hutton report [the-hutton...iry.org.uk] pushed out the top people at the BBC, and that it now looks as if the independance of the BBC is under threat... especially as the report is seen as a whitewash, totally clearing the government of any wrongdoing of it's intelligence in the run up to the iraq war, and not being guilty in any way of causing one of their weapons experts to take his life, even though they revealed his name to the press without telling him first. The BBC took the blame for most of the government's lies, and so this is why its independance is seen to be under threat.

controlling the net (4, Insightful)

belmolis (702863) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218478)

It seems to me that this piece conflates two issues:

  • Should the net be controlled by large corporations?
  • Should the content of the net be regulated?
and that it gets the priorities backwards. It only briefly addresses the problem of having a network controlled by large corporations and focusses on regulation. In my view, corporate control is dangerous, as is regulation.

The primary problem with corporate control is that the corporations will act in their own business interests rather than in the interests of users and people in general. So far things haven't been too bad, but it is easy to see what could happen. We could get lockin to particular proprietary technologies, e.g. MS Windows and IE, including things like DRM and spyware. Furthermore, precisely because corporations are not governments, they are exempt from constraints on censorship such as the First Amendment in the United States. They could censor content in their own interests. So I would like to see control of the net taken away from the big corporations.

However, transferring control to governments is also a bad idea, precisely because that will facilitate regulation. The fact is, most countries in the world are not open and democratic. Many, probably most governments engage in censorship and would do what they could to censor the net. There is a long-standing movement in the United Nations for a "New International Communication Order". Some of the arguments for this reflect the legitiamte desire of less developed countries not to be dominated by rich, developed countries, but the actual proposals that have been made periodically in the UN, particularly by UNESCO, have clearly had censorship as their primary objective. The current political movement to transfer control of the net to governments is just the latest incarnation of this movement.

The argument for regulation made in the BBC piece is weak. It merely repeats tired old arguments that violent publications (whether on the net or on paper) foster violence and that there is too much porn. The evidence for this is incredibly weak. And in view of the very limited harm that certain kinds of content can be argued to do, as opposed to the very great harm that censorship would do, it seems clear to me that facilitating censorship is a bad idea.

what govt? (1)

relrelrel (737051) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218485)

what govt would own it? the us may have thought up the idea but the actual WWW that we use before us now is british in origin, basically, this is a joke. maybe the UN should run it? haha.

Beastiality (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218489)

In all reality, shouldn't beastiality be permitted? As long as no laws are violated in the hosting country, it should be legit. For example, if beastiality porn is hosted in Pakistan, and it's not considered illegal there, why should it be censored? Its global viewing is just a possibility, if the intent is to please the people of the local country? There are no UNIVERSAL laws, and that's the way it should be.

Don't forget... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218512)

The Internet is not a thing, it's an agreement.

See What the Internet Is and How to Stop Mistaking It for Something Else. [worldofends.com]

One of the top countries pushing for gubmint control over the Internet is China. You know the country that has it's own firewall to help them government sniff out subversives.

Finally there are a few EU countries (France) that really like the idea as well. They want to protect their innocent youngsters from "American Culture which is so pervasive on the Internet".

I'd am VERY suspicious of such gubmints, the motives behind them dont seem very "egalitarian". They are self serving, and mostly trying to prevent the free exchange of ideas IMHO.

Silence the critics! (4, Interesting)

Andy Smith (55346) | more than 10 years ago | (#8218517)

Bill Thompson's BBC articles epitomise what is wrong with the BBC's current attitude to journalism.

For months they were running one of his articles every week or so, and most times the feedback section would fill up with comments from people disagreeing with him, pointing out the flaws in his arguments, explaining how/what he had misunderstood, detailing factual errors, etc. In my mind, and I'm sure in the minds of others, his articles were becoming a joke and must have been causing some embarrassment at the BBC.

So how did the BBC react?

Did they insist on him doing better research and presenting more sensible arguments? Did they cut back on the number of ill-conceived, subjective crusades he was allowed to go on? Did they decide to drop him entirely?

No.

They dropped the comments section.

Regarding Child Porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8218543)

From my cold, dead hands.

ok so that was a joke.
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