In my dairy, I have already given extensive coverage to attempts by the U.S. government to control the Internet. Now it would seem that other governments want a hand on the controls too, but only governments, thus taking control away from the non-government international organizations that have run the Internet so far.
A United Nations initiative is developing that attempts to put multiple governments in charge of the Internet but only governments. On Friday, Vint Cerf, who is generally considered the father of the Internet, and is currently Google's Chief Internet Evangelist, wrote in the official company blog:
The beauty of the Internet is that it’s not controlled by any one group. Its governance is bottoms-up—with academics, non-profits, companies and governments all working to improve this technological wonder of the modern world. This model has not only made the Internet very open—a testbed for innovation by anyone, anywhere—it's also prevented vested interests from taking control.
But last week the UN Committee on Science and Technology announced that only governments would be able to sit on a working group set up to examine improvements to the IGF—one of the Internet’s most important discussion forums. This move has been condemned by the Internet Governance Caucus, the Internet Society (ISOC), the International Chamber of Commerce and numerous other organizations—who have published a joint letter (PDF) and launched an online petition to mobilize opposition. Today, I have signed that petition on Google’s behalf because we don’t believe governments should be allowed to grant themselves a monopoly on Internet governance. The current bottoms-up, open approach works—protecting users from vested interests and enabling rapid innovation. Let’s fight to keep it that way.
These existing Internet governance groups such as ICANN and ISOC are also expressing concerns. Most recently the World Information Technology and Services Alliance weighed in, with John Higgins, Public Policy Chairman writing:
I was saddened and disappointed to learn that the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) Bureau, at its extraordinary meeting on December 7, 2010, decided to limit participation in the new Working Group on Improvements to the Internet Governance Forum to governments only.
I therefore strongly urge you to set aside the December 7 decision to block participation from business and civil society in the new working group. In order for the working group to be effective in improving the Internet Governance Forum, it must provide for an open and inclusive process that ensures a mechanism for the full and active participation of governments, the private sector and civil society from both developing and developed countries.
IT News for Australian Business believes this new initiative has been spurred by WikiLeaks. Noting that a number of countries, including China, India and Saudi Arabia have already expressed support, under the subtitle WikiLeaks sparks push for tighter controls., they say:
At a meeting in New York on Wednesday, representatives from Brazil called for an international body made up of Government representatives that would attempt to create global standards for policing the internet - specifically in reaction to challenges such as WikiLeaks.
The Brazilian delegate stressed, however, that this should not be seen as a call for a "takeover" of the internet.
Of course not! Why would governments want to takeover the Internet?
Meanwhile back in the United States, the FCC is planning to seize more power on the Internet this week when it votes on it's so-called Net Neutrality rules. A Reuters article on this says that "Genachowski's proposal is more flexible for wireless broadband, acknowledging that wireless is at an earlier stage of development than terrestrial Internet service." In other words, it has the same issues that Free Press and others so loudly condemned the Google/Verizon proposal for back in August. Reuter's describes the FCC rules this way:
The Federal Communications Commission will vote on Dec. 21 on whether to adopt regulations that ban the blocking of lawful traffic but allow Internet service providers to ration Web traffic on their networks.
So actually worst than the Google/Verizon proposal since if ISPs can ration web traffic on their networks, Net Neutrality pretty much goes out the window! But note that it will ban the blocking of lawful traffic.
Another way of saying that is to say that it will allow the blocking of unlawful traffic. And what is "unlawful" traffic? WikiLeaks is certainly at the top of the list. So would the 82 domains unilaterally seized by the U.S. gov't a few weeks ago, so would much of what has been done recently in support of WikiLeaks, and so would a growing list of blacklisted websites in an increasingly controlled Internet.
While Free Press has had nothing to say about the seizure of 82 domains by DHS for 'piracy' or attempts to block and censor WikiLeaks and it's supporters on the Internet, they are back on the beat for Net Neutrality and the FCC vote this Tuesday, asking supporters to send this letter:
Dear President Obama:
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski needs to hear from you right now. He came into office last year promising to fulfill your pledge to protect an open and neutral Internet from blocking and discrimination.
But he’s now pushing a rule that betrays your promise...
I think that on many fronts it should already be clear that Obama has broken his "pledge to protect an open and neutral Internet from blocking and discrimination." How can Free Press continue to ignore these broader issues of Internet freedom and press forward their very narrow campaign for what they define as Net Neutrality?
Again I ask, Are these people fools or tools?
Here is a recap of my other DKos dairies on this subject:
BREAKING - Digital Sit-Ins: The Internet Strikes Back!
Cyber War Report: New Front Opens Against Internet Coup d'état
Operation PayBack: 1st Cyber War Begins over WikiLeaks
The Internet Takeover: Why Google is Next
BREAKING: Goodbye Internet Freedom as Wikileaks is Taken Down
BREAKING NEWS: Obama Admin Takes Control of Internet Domains!
Things Even Keith Olbermann Won't Cover - UPDATE: VICTORY!!!
Stop Internet Blacklist Bill Now!
Sweet Victory on Internet Censorship: Senate Backs Off!
Internet Engineers tell the Senate to Back Off!
Why is Net Neutrality advocate Free Press MIA?
Obama's Internet Coup d'état
Julian Assange on Threat to Internet Freedom
FCC Net Neutrality's Trojan Horse
Free Press: Country Codes for the Internet?
The Mountain comes to Mohammad
Keith Olbermann's Deception
Court rules -> Google Must Be Evil & Maximize Profits
EFF on the Google\Verizon Net Neutrality Proposal
Google-Verizon: What is the Free Press Agenda?
End of the Internet As We Know It!
Free Press would make this Illegal!
Google Verizon Announce Terms of Deal