Internet Freedom to End in December 2012

I am a political activist. I don’t often write about politics on this site. But, a few things make it into this blog every now and then. This is one item that should make it in as it affects everyone on the planet.

Losing Freedom?

The nations of the world are negotiating the International Telecommunications Regulations treaty lead by Russia and China that will allow regulation of the Internet through the United Nations.  We know about the talks through a WCITLeaks anonymous posting by a participant in the talks.  The signing ceremony has been scheduled in Dubai in December of 2012.

It currently looks like Hamadoun Toure, From Mali and a graduate from the Russian Leningrad Institute and Moscow Technical University, is Vladimir Putin’s choice to run the Internet.

Jerry Brito and Eli Dourado, of George Mason University, set up a web site called WCITLeaks and encouraged anyone with knowledge of the negotiations to make an anonymous posting detailing their progress.  Someone responded on June 12th of this year posting a 250 page synopsis of the proposed treaty and the talks surrounding it.

If the treaty is approved and it is highly likely the Obama Administration will approve it, the UN will:

  • Distribute and assign all domain and other enames.
  • Notify each country of the IP addresses of email users within their borders.
  • Be authorized to regulate all Internet content.
  • Grant each nation the right to censor web sites originating in their country.
  • Authorize countries to charge a surcharge for access to any web sites that originate beyond their borders.

If the UN denies you a domain or revokes your right to use it, there is no one to appeal to.

Providing Russia, Brazil, India, China, Venezuela, Iran, and a load of dictatorships the IP address of email users will allow those governments to track down dissidents.

If you thought SOPA was bad, think again. Over 60% of the UN member countries are basically dictatorships without freedom of speech. Placing the Internet in the hands of the UN will place our free speech Internet rights in the hands of the most corrupt organization on the planet. One with a vested interest in obliterating free speech.

Currently in free countries free speech rights based their Constitution over rule any laws that infringe that right. But, in the USA a treaty becomes part of the Constitution. See Article 6 Clause 2. The laws made part of the Constitution cannot be overturned by the Supreme Court nor revoked by Congress. The states must call a Constitutional Convention to revoke a treaty. The treaty will essentially give the US Government a new power over free speech.

The current wording proposed for inclusion in the treaty states;

“…in cases where international telecommunication services are used for the purpose of interfering in the internal affairs or undermining the sovereignty, national security, territorial integrity and public safety of other states, or to divulge information of a sensitive nature.”

That pretty much guarantees there will be no wikileaks rating out corrupt government officials in the future. Remember Oil for Food… with this treaty in place you would likely never have heard of it.

Don’t think that this will be easy to stop or that your country has a choice. Under the rules of the International Telecommunication Union Treaty, which most countries have already signed, (a UN board administers the treaty), countries don’t have a veto over regulations the UN imposes—resolutions and regulations are come to by consensus… of a group that is 60+% totalitarian.

The US Congress has taken the awesome (not) step of passing a resolution… A resolution is not a law. It is just a pretty piece of paper that says Congress has the intent to do something. Basically nothing and useless.

If your web site is used in another country, that country can impose a fee on it. It is unclear whether the site owner or the viewer has to pay the fee. The way taxes work it is likely both will be charged some fee.

Vinton Cerf, vice president of Google, warns, “…open Internet has never been at higher risk than it is now. If all of us don’t pay attention to what’s going on, users worldwide will be at risk of losing the open and free Internet that has brought so much to so many.” Heard much out of Google lately?

The Wall Street Journal published The U.N. Threat to Internet Freedom (Feb 2012) in which it warned that the proposal treaty could “use the International Telecommunications Regulations to take control of the Internet.”

Vanity Fair wrote World War 3.0, an excellent read.

This treaty has been slowly and quietly moving forward all year. If we don’t rally to protect the Internet, we may lose this freedom forever.

So What To Do?

Do you know which party in your country supports the treaty? Find out and oppose that party. I mean really find out. Just because a party says they are for free speech doesn’t mean they are. Look at their actions, recent laws, Executive Orders, and treaties they have signed. Look at who is providing transparency and who isn’t. This is a political chess game and advanced propaganda techniques are in use.

The governments are meeting in Dubai this December. Remind your representatives that you are paying attention and oppose giving control of the Internet to the UN.

18 thoughts on “Internet Freedom to End in December 2012

  1. According to Wikipedia, Dr Hamadoun Touré, the Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union since 2007, is from Mali, rather than Russia, though his graduate degrees are from Moscow University.

  2. Wow, USA agree with a threat where the origin is from those countries? Doesnt that sounds really odd? I wonder if that will affect my country (Spain). We have a lot of others things to deal as well, asides of SOPA, we got also PIPA and ESGAE and who knows what more things are around. Seriously, what is happening with this world. Freedom seems now more like a privilegie than a right.

  3. Bring it on. That’ll be the final push to get the current addressing schemes and protocols reworked into something decentralized and self-correcting; long overdue as the existing systems have become brittle and vulnerable.

    I assume you’ve seen this one, too:

  4. The UN should be the organization handling this since internet communication is too important to be left in the hands of any single country. Sadly the good (might) part end here as the UN is not some sort of world government that would have executive power to enforce treaties and the rules written in them. It is jsut a place where countreis can meet and agree on treaties declaring them binding for themselves within international law (that itselves only works because most agree that it is better to have it then to return to how it was before).
    In a treaty like this chances are big that even when it would include sanctions for blocking internet access, those would never be enforced because the signature countreis will do everything to either marginalize the treaty-controlling-cometee or try to get it under their influence so that it will not start writing up unpleasant reports about the ‘wrong’ country,

    Sadly such behaviour is common all over the world and while countries like China will make sure to claim that now their censorship has been all sanctioned and allowed by ‘the UN’ the rest of the world will turn the other side and either blame ‘the UN’ for being ineffective forgeting that it was them who signed this treaty and that the UN does not have any power in itself or they will happily forget about the existence of it fearing that when someone mentions it, people will ask questions about how democratic countries who claim to be all about free speach are treating said free speach in reality.

    Tali above has written, that it might get reworked into something decentralized and self correcting. Decentralized for sure, but I am much less optimistic about the self correcting part. So far international politics has not been that much self correcting and I rather expect that what I wrote above will come true.

    Dictatorships will use it for more control and the democracies will turn a blind eye on it in fear that someone might get a closer look at their own behaviour.
    I can only wait on what the various vorporate lobby groups will want to pass as laws and regulations under this regime. I am sure they are loving it.

    And the most sad part in all this is …. that this all has been proven to be true no matter which party wins any elections. They always seem to somehow agree to do such things quietly so the public does not see it (and I live in a coutnry with 5 parties in the parliament, where and not just 2 like in the US)

    • You are so far from the facts and nature of the UN we have no place to even start to discuss the issues.

      I will remind you that the UN has armed forces and is working to have sole control over those troops. And… that the UN is run as a democracy in which 60+% of the members are from totalitarian governments.

  5. Since Obama signed the bill that allows the US army to arrest & detain US citizens without charges indefinitely, this should come as no surprise. A brave new world to say the least.

  6. I reiterate this articale, it’s just like SOPA all over again but worse. If you restrict the internet you cut ties with a lot of folks. The one you may only be able to communicate with on the internet would no longer be able to speak with you, say, if the UN decided to censor a website because they felt like it. Places like Second Life and Yahoo could go down overnight. Then how would you communicate with services and people you needed?

    To control the internet and take it for yourself will lead to disaster and more revolts from the people who feel that they rightfully deserve it. It would be a catastrophe on our hands, the world would be in chaos over it. The UN needs to think twice before they cause another World War over the internet. Besides, isn’t the internet important for communicating as I state once again? Take out communication and you lose things valuable to you…. Forgive my ranting, of course I object to this as any intelligent folk would.

    • You are right. But, the totalitarian members of the UN do NOT want open communication. Dictators, monarchies, socialist, communist, and Islamic countries do not want open communications. They want to control minorities and opponents. Those of us that want free speech and will put up with disagreeable speech are a minority. Even political parties in ‘free’ countries try to limit speech.

      Which is why letting the UN do anything leads to less freedom.

      • Hey there Nalates.

        While agreeing with most of what you said above, I do think that saying socialism, monarchies and communist on the UN are totalitarian systems that don’t want open communications… is generalize way too much. Not the case here on Spain… not more than other governs of any color on UN or non UN countries.

        • Which socialist countries are promoting free speech and allow non-government controlled news media?

          • I don’t know about socialist countries, but I think Spain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium and the UK are quite keen on free speech and allow non-government controlled news media.

          • Question is: nowadays, which govern of any color are promoting free speech to the people? Since in my country we suffer a bipartisan i can just talk about the two parties that governs or governed us. On one hand we have the socialist party, back in 2009 they presented Sinde law (for what i know, very similar to SOPA) after two polemical years, it was finally approved back in February 2011 with the support of socialist, catalonian nacionalist (CiU)… and the ones that currently governs us: the moderate party. Other 19 minority parties were against it.

            Currently, there are an huge polemic about the independence of the second richer community of Spain: Catalonia. The idea is not new, the cravings for independence of some of their population (or politicians) is something historical. CiU has the intention to ask Catalonia population in a referendum. Is not the first time they have been asked. In 2009 the 95% of them wanted the independence… with a participation of less than 30%.

            I have a reason to talk about this historical discussion. Moderated party have already aggressively expressed in several times that they will not let people be asked their feelings about the matters, if necessary, they will abolish the referendum right (they did back in 2003, the socialist party restored it in their last mandate). Considering the current situation of Spain, i am one of those who thinks that maybe this is a bad time to bring this polemical again. And not just for Spain itself.. if Catalonia gets the Independence, they wouldn’t be on the EU anymore.

            But what is even worse is try to shut up the people like our current moderate govern is doing: with police repression, abolishing rights and controlling news media.. So i still ask.. who is letting free speech, who is not? Do we have choice?

            I do think that the problem in Spain and some others countries is not about political ideology.. the problem is about politicians. And i am not the only one with this thoughs, this is what the 15M movement (the one who inspired Occupy Wall Street) still claims. I am not willing to accept this situation of any govern with any ideology, i will take the street and shout my rights when necessary.. and i am not alone.

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