Russia, China and Arabs want to surrender Internet Control to United Nations

By JIM ALGAR | UPI | JUNE 4, 2012

The Internet could someday look very different and be less open and  free if a proposal for the International Telecommunications Union, an arm of the  United Nations, to take over management of the Internet comes to pass, critics  of the proposal say.

A growing movement led by China, Russia and some Arab states to  hand more control of the Web to the United Nations has U.S. lawmakers and  Internet companies warning of censorship, surveillance and taxes.

The ITU and its 93 member states will meet in Dubai in December to  reconsider a key 1988 communications treaty, with a number of foreign  governments arguing it needs to be updated as the influence of Internet  communications increases worldwide.

Advocates of a free and open Internet say that could create an  opening for countries where free speech and civil liberties are often harshly  suppressed to propose the United Nations establish a new “information security”  regime to replace ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and  Numbers, a non-profit U.S. organization serving as the Internet’s de facto  governing body since the late 1990s.

Federal Communications Commission member Robert McDowell has warned  that some ITU member countries seek to hobble the  open and free nature of the  Internet because it causes problems for dictatorships and autocracies.

“[L]et’s face it. Strong-arm regimes are threatened by popular  outcries for political freedom that are empowered by unfettered Internet  connectivity. They have formed impressive coalitions, and their efforts have  progressed significantly,” he wrote in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

A bipartisan group of U.S. congressional officials said they would  resist any change in the way the Internet is regulated and maintained.

Members of the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee have  issued a resolution urging the U.S. government to maintain “the consistent and  unequivocal policy of the United States to promote a global Internet free from  government control and preserve and advance the successful multi-stakeholder  model that governs the Internet today.”

Committee member Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., said U.N.-led control of  the Internet would affect Internet users around the world.

“The Internet has become this economic and social juggernaut not  because governmental actors willed it to be so, but because the government took  a step back and let the private sector drive its evolution,” he said.  “International regulatory intrusion into the Internet would have disastrous  results not just for the United States, but for people around the world.”

Vinton Cerf, Google’s chief Internet evangelist and former chairman  of ICANN, addressing the congressional committee, said the ITU meeting could  lead to “top-down control dictated by governments” that could impact free  expression.

“Such proposals raise the prospect of policies that enable  government controls but greatly diminish the ‘permissionless innovation’ that  underlies extraordinary Internet-based economic growth, to say nothing of  trampling human rights,” he said.

“If all of us do not pay attention to what is going on, users  worldwide will be at risk of losing the open and free Internet that has brought  so much to so many.”

ONU evalúa Opciones de Regulación de Internet

iTnews
Adaptación: Luis R. Miranda

Las Naciones Unidas está considerando la posibilidad de establecer un grupo intergubernamental de trabajo para armonizar esfuerzos mundiales por los responsables políticos para regular Internet.

La creación de dicho grupo cuenta con el respaldo de varios países, encabezados por Brasil.

En una reunión celebrada en Nueva York el miércoles, los representantes de Brasil clamaron por un organismo internacional compuesto por representantes del Gobierno para tratar de crear estándares globales para la vigilancia de Internet – específicamente en respuesta a retos como Wikileaks.

El delegado de Brasil hizo hincapié, sin embargo, que esto no debe ser visto como un llamado a una “toma” de la Internet.

India, Sudáfrica, China y Arabia Saudita parecían a favor de un posible nuevo cuerpo intergubernamental.

Sin embargo, Australia, EE.UU., Reino Unido, Bélgica y Canadá así como representantes de empresas y comunidades argumentaron que había riesgos en la formación de un nuevo grupo de trabajo que puede aislarse de la industria, los usuarios y el público en general.

“Mi preocupación es que si creamos un órgano gubernamental sólo, enviaría una señal muy fuerte a la sociedad civil que su valiosa contribución no es necesaria o no que se busca,” un representante de Australia representante dijo en la reunión.

El debate sobre la creación de un nuevo órgano intergubernamental surgió de una resolución del Foro Económico y Social en su resolución 2010/2 del 19 de Julio.

La resolución de las Naciones Unidas invitó a la Secretaría General “de convocar consultas abiertas e inclusive a que participen todos los Estados miembros y todas las otras partes interesadas con el fin de llevar el proceso hacia una mayor cooperación con el fin de permitir a los gobiernos en igualdad de condiciones que lleven a cabo sus funciones y responsabilidades con respecto de las cuestiones de política pública relacionadas con Internet, pero no de los asuntos del día a día técnicas y operativas que no afectan a esas cuestiones. ”

Gran parte del debate se enfoca en el significado de la “cooperación reforzada” y si un nuevo órgano intergubernamental se requiere. Los participantes también debatieron el papel de las organizaciones existentes – tales como el Foro de Gobernanza de Internet, ICANN y la UIT.

El IGF – una organización que informa a la ONU, pero no toma ninguna decisión – se llegando al final de su mandato de cinco años, que expirará al final del año.

Organizaciones como ISOC, ICANN y, más recientemente, la Organización Mundial de Tecnologías de Información y Servicios Alliance (WITSA) han expresado su preocupación [PDF] que un grupo especial de trabajo para decidir sobre el futuro del Foro se ha limitado a los representantes de los estados miembros.

“Australia es un partidario muy fuerte del Foro de Gobernanza de Internet”, el representante no identificado de Australia de la ONU dijo en Nueva York esta semana:” Eso es sobre todo debido al enfoque multifacetico de la IGF. “Se trata de un proceso inclusivo “.

El Departamento de Banda Ancha de Australia, Comunicaciones y Economía Digital, dijo que el Gobierno de Australia dio la bienvenida a la resolución de la Segunda Comisión de la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas (AGNU) para extender el Internet Governance Forum (IGF) por un período de cinco años.

El DBCDE dijo que le gustaría ver a la organización mantener una membresía abierta y participativa.

“Australia siempre ha apoyado la participación de la sociedad civil y el sector privado en el Foro y se refiere a su participación como parte integral del éxito del FGI”, dijo un portavoz iTnews.

UN mulls internet regulation options

WikiLeaks sparks push for tighter controls.  Brazil supports internet takeover.

ITNEWS

The United Nations is considering whether to set up an inter-governmental working group to harmonise global efforts by policy makers to regulate the internet.

Establishment of such a group has the backing of several countries, spearheaded by Brazil.

At a meeting in New York on Wednesday, representatives from Brazil called for an international body made up of Government representatives that would to 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 an “takeover” of the internet.

India, South Africa, China and Saudi Arabia appeared to favour a new possible over-arching inter-government body.

However, Australia, US, UK, Belgium and Canada and attending business and community representatives argued there were risks in forming yet another working group that might isolate itself from the industry, community users and the general public.

“My concern is that if we were to make a move to form a governmental-only body then that would send a very strong signal to civil society that their valuable contribution was not required or was not being looked for,” an un-named Australian representative told the meeting.

Debate on the creation of a new inter-governmental body stemmed from a UN Economic and Social Council resolution 2010/2 of 19 July.

The resolution invited the UN Secretary-General “to convene open and inclusive consultations involving all Member States and all other stakeholders with a view to assisting the process towards enhanced cooperation in order to enable Governments on an equal footing to carry out their roles and responsibilities in respect of international public policy issues pertaining to the Internet but not of the day-to-day technical and operational matters that do not impact upon those issues.”

Much debate concerned the meaning of “enhanced cooperation” and whether a new inter-governmental body was required. Participants also debated the roles of existing organisations – such as the Internet Governance Forum, ICANN and the ITU.

The IGF – an organisation that informs the UN but makes no decisions – is running close to the end of a five-year mandate, due to expire at ?the end of the year.

The likes of ISOC, ICANN and more recently the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) have recently expressed concerns [PDF]? that a working panel to decide on the future of the IGF has been limited to representatives from member-states.

“Australia is a very strong supporter of the Internet Governance Forum,” the unidentified Australian UN representative said at the New York meeting this week. “That is very much due to the multi-stake-holder approach of the IGF. It is an inclusive process.”

Australia’s Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy said that Australian Government welcomed the resolution of the Second Committee of the United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) to extend the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) for a further five years.

The DBCDE said it would like to see the organisation retain an open and participatory membership.

“Australia has always supported the participation of civil society and the private sector in the IGF and regards their participation as being integral to the IGF’s success,” a spokesman told iTnews.