Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Community News Network

January 21, 2013

Keeping the Internet free

Internet freedom is not something to be taken lightly, as anyone who has tried to gain access to forbidden sites in China will tell you. The countries that would like to censor Internet content, including Russia, China, Iran and others, were eager to see their authority to do so etched into a United Nations treaty debated at a conference last month in Dubai. The United States and other nations committed to a free and open Internet refused to sign the treaty. It was a largely symbolic protest but the right thing to do.

The World Conference on International Telecommunications brought together 193 nations to consider revisions to principles last modified in the pre-Internet days of 1988. The principles govern the largely technical work of a specialized U.N. agency, the International Telecommunications Union. Much of the conference debate turned on whether the principles should be expanded to give national governments and the agency more voice in regulating the Internet.

Those governments that hunger for more control are not paragons of freedom. China, which already maintains the world's most pervasive Internet censorship machine, tightened its controls at year's end, requiring users of social media to disclose their identities. Russia has been moving toward selective eavesdropping to tamp down dissent. The treaty debated in Dubai may not change anything they are already doing but could provide a veneer of political cover.

The United States objected to a resolution appended to the treaty saying that "all governments should have an equal role and responsibility for international Internet governance." Translation: Let national governments get their hands on it. The United States has maintained that Internet governance should rest, as it does now, with a loose group of organizations, including the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which manages domain names and addresses under contract with the U.S. Commerce Department. There are suspicions aplenty in the rest of the world that this is the equivalent of U.S. control — suspicions that should not be ignored. While the Internet cannot fall into the hands of those who would censor and restrict it, the United States should put more effort into remaking the current model so that it can serve what has become a global infrastructure.

Text Only
Community News Network
Features
AP Video
Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel David Perdue Wins Georgia GOP Senate Runoff 98-Year-Old Woman Left in Parked Truck Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Raw: MD Church Built in 1773 Ravaged by Fire Flight to Tel Aviv From US Diverted to Paris AP Review: Amazon Fire Adds Spark to Smartphones Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Raw: Massive Fire Burns in North Dakota Town Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law
Facebook
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Upon completion and reopening of Third Street, should the City of Knoxville wait to start the next stage of the Streetscape and Infrastructure project until 2015?

Yes
No
     View Results