God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen - Jars of Clay - listen now

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

THIS ITEM CONTAINS FORBIDDEN SPEECH

* * * * * U P D A T E * * * * *

Deal Reached on Managing the Internet
Negotiators from more than 100 countries agreed late Tuesday to leave the United States in charge of the Internet's addressing system, averting a U.S.-EU showdown at this week's U.N. technology summit.

U.S. officials said early Wednesday that instead of transferring management of the system to an international body such as the United Nations, an international forum would be created to address concerns. The forum, however, would have no binding authority.
It looks like we may have dodged a bullet. We'll still have control of the Internet, but we definitely need to stay vigilant. Dictators and thugs have a way of popping up again, and again, and again. Trust me - they won't go quietly on this issue.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The United States cannot allow any other nation to have any control or authority over the internet. The only way it will stay free is if it stays under the control of the United States. Think the United Nations would be a good overseer? Think again, the United Nations Human Rights Declaration only permits free speech and freedom of the press so long as what is being said or written does not "interfere with the goals and purposes of the United Nations."

From The Independent Online Edition:

The countries leading the calls for control of the internet to be internationalised, under the aegis of the UN, are the same ones that have led the way in censoring their own citizens.

In the two years since the last internet summit, held in Geneva, the rise of filtering technology - deployed by states to control what they don't want people to see - has been dramatic and insidious.

"Go to, say, Thailand and request a banned site on politics or pornography. Thanks to blocking technologies like IP filtering, you probably won't get the web page you asked for," he said. "Neither will you get a warning saying 'This content is blocked.' Instead, your browser is likely to say 'host not found'. In fact things are just as the censors intended: the site is working fine, but you can't see it."

In Uzbekistan authorities copy controversial sites, change their content and then repost their own version - all without the users being aware. Countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates filter content openly and are proud of doing so. Iran earned notoriety by becoming the first country to imprison someone for the contents of an internet page, or blog.

But China remains the benchmark in censorship. Beijing has cajoled major US players such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo into adapting their sites and services to suit the censors. A Chinese web surfer typing the word "democracy" or "freedom" or "human rights" into their server will probably receive an error message announcing: "This item contains forbidden speech."

BURMA The military junta permits only two service providers, both under direct state control. Of the approximately 25,000 internet users in 2003, virtually all were hand-picked members of the military or government.

CHINA China has the world's most developed internet censorship technology, thanks, ironically, to companies such as Yahoo. The pro-democracy writer Wang Yi's blog was closed two weeks ago, days after he was nominated for an international award.

FRANCE The Law on the Digital Economy (2004) states that service providers are legally responsible for the content their customers post online. Providers must also check the legality of any links they maintain.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Though one of the best-connected countries in the Gulf, the UAE's only service provider is state-owned. Medical and scientific sites that show naked parts of the human body, as well as publications about Buddhism, Sufism, religious sects and the US anti-war film-maker Michael Moore, are all blocked. Marriage agencies are allowed, but dating sites are banned.

GERMANY Ogrish.com, a website displaying graphic images of violence and mutilation, has recently been blocked by its service provider after a complaint from a watchdog group called Jugendschutz (Youth Protection).

IRAN Iranian censorship officially aims to protect the public from immoral, "non-Islamic" sites, but in reality concern centres on the political possibilities of the internet: it is currently easier to access pornographic websites than reformist ones. The authorities recently ordered all privately owned service providers to put themselves under government control, or else shut down.

TURKEY The line between criticism in the public interest and insult in online publications is very blurred in the eyes of the courts. Cybercafé owners are obliged to monitor the activity of their users for pornography, gambling, political separatism or any challenge to the state.
Hell, it looks like we can't even trust Germany or France to respect freedom of speech online. How can we possibly consider letting nations like China, Cuba, Iran, or North Korea have anymore of a say than they already do. Lord knows the United Nations can't even regulate itself, much less cyberspace. Screw them. The Internet has done quite well under U.S. control, thank you very much, there's no reason to change that.

The Wall Street Journal weighs in with 'Divide' and Conquer? a opinion column that discusses why the thugocracies in the world are salivating at the thought of UN control of the internet.

A U.N. unable even to audit its own accounts or police its own peacekeepers has no business making even a twitch toward control of the Internet.

Worse, the corruption and incompetence at U.N. headquarters, however disturbing, are the least of the problems linked to the U.N.'s bid to control interconnectivity. The deeper trouble is that the U.N. has embraced the same tyrants who in the name of helping the downtrodden are now seeking via Internet control to tread them down some more.

In free societies, all sorts of good things flourish, including technology and highly productive uses of the Internet. In despotic systems, human potential withers and dies, strangled by censorship, starved by central controls, and rotted by the corruption that inevitably accompanies such arrangements. That poisonous mix is what prevents the spread of prosperity in Africa, and blocks peace in the Middle East, and access to computers, or for that matter, food, in North Korea (which is of course sending a delegate to Tunis).

From the same U.N. that in 2003 brought us Libya chairing the Human Rights Commission, there is of course the usual U.N. tragicomic touch of holding this summit in a dictatorship such as Tunisia, a country highlighted by Human Rights Watch this week as a place that "continues to jail individuals for expressing their opinions on the Internet and suppress Web sites critical of the government." That's from the press release accompanying a far more ample 144-page report entitled "False Freedom: Online Censorship in the Middle East and North Africa," which details obstacles placed in the way of Internet access, and penalties doled out to those who defy them, in places such as Iran, Syria, Egypt and Tunisia itself.

Somewhere among the crowd now aiming to rewire the world out of Tunis are no doubt a fair number of genuinely well-intentioned people. Somewhere down the line, if the U.N. Internet grab goes ahead, they, like the rest of us, will end trying to exercise their rights to get online--and asking themselves what went so wrong.

0 comments:

Recent Comments

Contact Me

eMail:
cyberkevinblogs@gmail.com

MSN:
cyberkevinblogs

Google Chat:
cyberkevin1

Label Cloud

Followers

. . .

. . .

. . .


stats

Blog Archive

Disclaimer

All opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author. The author’s opinions do not represent those of his employers. All original material is copyrighted and property of the author. If you use it at least have the decency to give me credit for it. Don’t steal it or I reserve the right to sue you to heck and back, or worse. Other info may have been copyrighted by someone else; the author believes that such work as is quoted here does not exceed reasonable “fair use” of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the United States Copyright Law as I understand it. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Opinions in comments or trackbacks are not mine, so if you have a problem with those, sorry, I can’t help you. Comments on this blog become the sole property of the blog, and may be reused or quoted on the blog or in any other media. Anyone mentioned in relation to a crime is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Contact: writetokevinp@gmail.com. All e-mails are presumed to be for publication on the site unless I am specifically and politely told otherwise - if you’re rude I’ll publish them just to hack you off. All comments are subject to deletion or revision should the author find them offensive or just simply not like you. Trolling will not be tolerated.

  © Blogger templates ProBlogger Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP