I think it’s obvious why the more autocratic, authoritarian, and avaricious elements of the current criminal crony system of monarchist merchantile monopolism are constantly attempting to change the commons culture of the Internet.
They want to be able to charge you for access to the library/thesaurus/dictionary/encyclopedia/studio/printing press.
If you’re like me you’ve already switched from the sometimes evil Google to the equally corporate captured but less popular bing or Yahoo. I personally use duckduckgo which has the benefit of not limiting the results of your searches to things you have discovered before. If I’m searching I want to find new things, not the same old stuff I’ve already seen.
The reason I mention duckduckgo in this context is that they’ve been out in front of identifying yet another threat to our continued abusive Internet addiction, the WCIT 2/ITU treaty talks being held in Dubai, that hot bed of corporatist freedom.
Indeed the particular bone of contention in these talks is whether providers should be charged for bandwidth as well as consumers with a secondary issue of how long the United States should be allowed to continue it’s DARPANET dominance.
Now normally I’m all for socking it to the suits and chauvinists but in this case not so much. Certainly this artistic thing I share without expectation of anything except ridicule and disagreement in return would be made even more difficult as the inputs (that’s what they call them in econospeak) became scarce and restricted and my output (such as it is) more expensive to produce and inflict upon you.
Nor am I in favor of outright government corruption and graft which appear to be the goals of the “reformers”. Public servants should, oh I don’t know, serve the public and not their personal pocketbooks.
I realize this is radical thinking.
So with that declaration of my personal conflicts of interest and prejudice I share these stories and action items.
The not-boring guide to the United Nations’ non-takeover of the Internet
By Andrew Couts, Digital Trends
November 30, 2012
Next week, the United Nations will take over the Internet. Or, actually, it won’t take over the Internet, but it’s going to let the Russians take over the Internet. Or maybe it’s just going to poke the Internet with a stick. No, no, wait, that’s not right either… Nobody’s going to take over the Internet, but a bunch of “important people” from around the world are going to pretend like they know what’s best for the Internet, and all we can do is sit around hoping they don’t screw it up.
Yeah, that sounds more like it.
I’m talking, of course – of course – about the 2012 World Conference on International Telecommunications, or WCIT, which kicks off in the fun-loving city of Dubai on Monday, December 3, and runs through December 14. During WCIT (pronounced “wicket”), member states of a UN agency called the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) will talk about a whole bunch of complicated stuff that could, somehow, affect the Internet we all love so much.
Problem is, the whole shebang is a giant mess. Worse, most of the filth is a secret – one of the many reasons people, Internet advocacy groups, governments, and companies are freaking out.
The whole thing is really just about money
In addition to concerns from U.S.-based Internet companies, like Google, that changes to the ITRs could result in more rules and burdensome regulation, the real worry is money. Some African and Asian nations, as well as the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO) want to impose something called “sender party pays,” which would require Web companies to pay local Internet operators around the world for the data-heavy traffic they send through their system. As former U.S. Ambassador David Gross told me earlier this year, the ETNO proposal would impose “a radical change” on “the economics of the Internet.”
According to Amb. Gross and others, the establishment of “sender party pays” could, at the very least, result in companies like Google deciding that it is not worth it financially to operate in developing nations that generate little in the way of advertising revenue. This in turn could result in these countries being kicked further behind due to a lack of access to the open Web we enjoy here in the U.S.
Columnist Michael Geist concurs that “sender party pays” would “create enormous new costs for major content providers such as Google or Netflix.”
UN internet regulation treaty talks begin in Dubai
By Leo Kelion, Technology reporter, BBC
2 December 2012
“The brutal truth is that the internet remains largely [the] rich world’s privilege, ” said Dr Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general of the UN’s International Telecommunications Union, ahead of the meeting.
“ITU wants to change that.”
The ITU says there is a need to reflect the “dramatically different” technologies that have become commonplace over the past 24 years.
But the US has said some of the proposals being put forward by other countries are “alarming”.
“There have been proposals that have suggested that the ITU should enter the internet governance business,” said Terry Kramer, the US’s ambassador to Wcit, last week.
“There have been active recommendations that there be an invasive approach of governments in managing the internet, in managing the content that goes via the internet, what people are looking at, what they’re saying.
“These fundamentally violate everything that we believe in in terms of democracy and opportunities for individuals, and we’re going to vigorously oppose any proposals of that nature.”
He added that he was specifically concerned by a proposal by Russia which said member states should have “equal rights to manage the internet” – a move he suggested would open the door to more censorship.
However – as a recent editorial in the Moscow Times pointed out – Russia has already been able to introduce a “black list” of banned sites without needing an international treaty.
Vint Cerf – the computer scientist who co-designed some of the internet’s core underlying protocols and who now acts as Google’s chief internet evangelist – has been even more vocal, penning a series of op-ed columns.
“A state-controlled system of regulation is not only unnecessary, it would almost invariably raise costs and prices and interfere with the rapid and organic growth of the internet we have seen since its commercial emergence in the 1990s,” he wrote for CNN.
I must admit the argument “Censorship is already possible” is not very compelling to me.
Think of all the terrible things governments do to the Internet. The US destroyed Megaupload, Russia jailed activists over a YouTube video, and China monitors Internet users’ every move– even hacking activists outside its borders.
Now imagine if a panel of governments, giant corporations, and dictatorships had absolute power over the entire Internet, deciding in secret what you can see & do online.
When the ITU meets December 3rd, they’ll decide on this. Only a global outcry can stop it.
Join us on December 3rd, and tell your leaders right now: “I don’t trust the world’s governments to run the global Internet. Don’t give the ITU any more power.”
Click through even if you don’t want to sign the petition because the page also has a lot of interesting links to futher discussions of the issues.
Our nation’s privacy laws are profoundly out of date. I am writing to urge you to support updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 to protect our Fourth Amendment rights and uphold the integrity of law enforcement in the digital age.
My emails, online documents, and text messages should have the same protections from unreasonable search and seizure as my phone calls, postal mail, and paper documents. The government should have to get a warrant from a judge to obtain these documents, or to track my location using my cell phone. Prosecutors, regulatory agencies and other government officials should not be able to issue their own subpoenas to read my emails.
The last significant update to electronic communications privacy legislation was in 1986 when the Internet was in its infancy and email was a novelty. Current electronic privacy laws don’t adequately protect online communications. This legal uncertainty harms the growth of modern businesses that increasingly store documents in “the cloud.” Updating ECPA will support small businesses, create jobs, and reinforce our Constitutional rights.
I am following this issue closely and look forward to your reply.
Our rights are in danger. The Bill of Rights was intended to grant all Americans protection from unreasonable government intrusions into our lives. Two decades ago, Congress recognized that the courts were not keeping up with the times, so it passed a law to preserve privacy rights in electronic communications. The 1986 law made some critical reforms, but came from an era with no Google, no Facebook, no World Wide Web. Now, that law needs to be updated to ensure that our rights don’t vanish as our lives move into the cloud.
Right now, the government claims that the Constitution does not protect the privacy of communications, calendars, photos and documents stored online. That 1986 federal privacy law provides some protections, but it has crazy distinctions like one rule for email more than 180 days old (no warrant required) and a different rule for email 180 days old or less (warrant required). Bottom line: the statute says the government can read a lot of your most personal stuff without a warrant. That doesn’t make any sense.
And the 1986 law didn’t even address location information, so the government claims that it can track your location using your phone without ever going to a court and getting a warrant from a judge. Congress has failed to pass common sense updates to that outdated 1986 law to ensure that privacy protections you get in your home apply equally to the Internet.
Congress has acknowledged in the past that legislation must be updated to keep pace with technology in order to protect the original meaning of the Constitution. In 1986 it passed the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). Congress thought that provisions such as the “180 day rule” made sense at the time, since most companies didn’t store your email even for six months. (In 1986, most customers downloaded their email to their personal computer, where, by the way, the government agrees it is protected by the Constitution.)
With each passing day, more and more of our personal information, business documents, and communications are stored online. Almost everyone holds years’ worth of email in webmail accounts, along with calendars, private photos, drafts and many other sensitive materials. Unless we ACT NOW to urge Congress to make common sense updates to existing privacy laws, aggressive government prosecutors will try to make the privacy promised in the Fourth Amendment obsolete.
The Fourth Amendment allows the government to conduct searches and seize evidence if it can convince a judge it has probable cause that a crime has been committed. These balanced protections have been the framework for legitimate law enforcement since the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791. Ensuring by law that the same protections apply to the Internet doesn’t undermine law enforcement, it strengthens it by providing clarity for officers to do their jobs with integrity.
Remember, these aren’t new rights! We are simply asking for ALL of our personal information to have the SAME Constitutional protections regardless of how we choose to store it. A few courts have already recognized that the Fourth Amendment applies to the cloud, and Congress can stop the DOJ from undermining this growing body of precedent by updating ECPA.