Google Rallies Opposition to U.N. Internet Treaty

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Google Rallies Opposition to U.N. Internet Treaty

Google is speaking out against a U.N. initiative that it claims is a threat to a "free and open internet."

The internet works pretty well, all things considered, but governments from around the world are set to make some potentially big changes to its technical specifications and domain name system in December, under the auspices of the U.N.'s International Telecommunication Union. The ITU says the new treaty is required to ensure "the free flow of information around the world, promoting affordable and equitable access for all and laying the foundation for ongoing innovation and market growth."

It sounds good, but Google is nonetheless firmly against the idea and has launched a "Take Action" site, asking its users to speak out against the treaty. It says that by wresting control of the internet from U.S. companies and handing them over to an agency whose members include censorious regimes like China and Iran, the new treaty could end up stifling freedom of expression and growth of the net.

"Not all governments support the free and open internet. There is a growing backlash on internet freedom. Forty-two countries filter and censor content," the site says. "In just the last two years, governments have enacted 19 new laws threatening online free expression."

The ITU hasn't revealed the details of the proposed new agreement but WCITleaks has lifted the veil on some of them, including a Russian proposal that "member states have equal rights to manage the internet, including in regard to the allotment, assignment and reclamation of internet numbering, naming, addressing and identification resources and to support for the operation and development of basic internet infrastructure." News service Russia Today reported that China and India support the Russian opinion that the ITU could assume greater control of the internet, while the U.S. representative has expressed support for existing institutions, saying in August that they "have functioned effectively and will continue to ensure the health and growth of the internet and all its benefits."

ITU Secretary General Dr. Hamadoun Toure said he would "try to avoid" resolving disagreements at the December meeting with a majority vote, "because voting means winners and losers and you can't afford that." But University of Surrey Professor Alan Woodward said that approach carries with it the risk of "splintering the internet" if settlements can't be reached.

"Some countries including Russia already restrict which sites can be accessed, but if people start going off and doing their own things in term of naming conventions and net addresses you could end up with different parts of the internet being unable to send traffic to each other," he said. "It would be the online equivalent of not being able to make a telephone call from one nation to another."

Google says it's not trying to shut out regulatory agencies, it just wants to ensure an "open and inclusive" process for the future. "Governments alone should not determine the future of the internet. The billions of people around the globe that use the internet, and the experts that build and maintain it, should be included," it wrote. "For example, at the Internet Governance Forum, anyone can attend and anyone can speak - a government official has the same influence as an individual."

The International Telecommunication Union conference runs from December 3-14 in Dubai.

Source: BBC, Google

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seriously what is with it with governments and trying to "fix" things that arent broken.

all i can really say is build the future you want to see not the future a well paid suit or someone who fears a disenting view wants

Let's focus here.

TV & Radio where intended as a mean to educate and inform the masses. Then it started being used for propaganda. And now, we have entertainment. Ads and reality TV. That's why I don't have cable anymore.

The Net is not just for kitten videos and p0rn. It's a tool of communication.
(The medias are evolving but people don't apparently). More than those arguments are going to be required if we want to have a say...

They're tackling the matter as a way to secure the damn thing. Nomenclature, rating -dammit- LAWS & REGULATiONS. It all comes down to making access to the internet safe. Manageable. Something that should have been done 10+ years ago.

For the love: they invented cars over a century ago. Look at how people are driving ;(

So now everyone can censor anything!
Free and open my ass.

Everyone who has an interest in a free internet, please sign the petition, and tell your friends. It will help raise awareness that this is going on & if enough people sign it might cause the UN to think twice.

If they do actually implement some of these suggestions (long-distance tolls like we have for international calls) it will send the internet back to the 80's/90's, where everyone hung out on local BBSs. This is not an option...

What we need are international standards for internet numbering, naming, addressing and identification resources, which I thought we already had. We don't need bureaucrats who don't know anything about this stuff interfering.

With how people act on the internet, I'm starting to think it's worth doing.

Hopefully it'll never be as draconian as SOPA.

Man I almost wrote this huge rant out...but I support what Google is doing.

Countries will do anything to shut people up who question them.
Probably Google also wants to give other nations the figure (China) after getting hacked.

The Internet is a work of art (how I look at it) that spans the entire world. Taking that away is going to be a major, major travesty to all of us. I'm with Google on this one; even though we have sites like 4chan and YouTube, there's enough positivity and good things that make the Internet worth its place in the world today and the future.

I don't know why governments can't leave the internet alone.
I suppose fear is the most rational answer I can find.

Wow, people just won't stop wanting to censor the freaking internet do they...

I like my free and open internet, go google!

as much as I don't like google...I still think that having russia/china/etc. even partly in control is a greater evil than the company that just tries to spam us to death.

ETERNAL-chaplain:
I suppose fear is the most rational answer I can find.

well, fear (mostly of losing control) is one of the biggest factors when it comes to grand-scale political decisions : D

canadamus_prime:
What we need are international standards for internet numbering, naming, addressing and identification resources, which I thought we already had. We don't need bureaucrats who don't know anything about this stuff interfering.

AGREED! It's not the if/when, it's the HOW.

The ITU needs the people's input -they just don't know it yet. Or they don't care.
The real issue is how people manifest their concern. I' m pretty sure no one on this forum is going to show up in Dubai.
And world representatives are NOT going to listen to every unarticulated rage-fest on YouTube.

Usually i would support shifting control over the internet to an objective, unbiased international body. In principle, it's not a good idea letting one country (the USA) command so much influence over what goes through the internet. At the moment the USA is generally committed to promoting free speech on the internet, but in the long run that may change.

But we don't want a UN Treaty on global internet use that helps countries like Russia and China to censor internet content. We want a treaty which truly reflects the values of the UN's Deceleration of Human Rights. The trouble is the UN is a body largely controlled by the whims and interests of the nation states that control it (i.s- the security council) so unless that changes i wouldn't trust the UN with the internet.

samahain:

canadamus_prime:
What we need are international standards for internet numbering, naming, addressing and identification resources, which I thought we already had. We don't need bureaucrats who don't know anything about this stuff interfering.

AGREED! It's not the if/when, it's the HOW.

The ITU needs the people's input -they just don't know it yet. Or they don't care.
The real issue is how people manifest their concern. I' m pretty sure no one on this forum is going to show up in Dubai.
And world representatives are NOT going to listen to every unarticulated rage-fest on YouTube.

Certainly not. In fact all that unarticulated raging is only going to make them want to clamp down harder.

Kneejerk reaction: DON'T TOUCH MY INTERNET!!!! D<

Read article: FUCK, DON'T LET RUSSIA OR CHINA TOUCH MY INTERNET! D:

Is the internet broken? Do we really need to let government people try and tinker with it?

I support Google on this one.
The internet has been fine the way it is handled now, we don't need changes, probably some improvements , but not changes.
ESPECIALLY not if that's giving part of the power to China and Russia who are very well much opposed to the freedome of speech.

God...Govs, please fucking stop trying to censor the internet, you are not the La Li Lu Le Lo, YOU ARE GOVERMENTS, FOCUS ON THINGS THAT MATTER MORE TO YOUR PEOPLE NOT TO YOUR OWN POWER YOU POWER HUNGRY EVIL MOTHERR.... GRrrrrr.....

what concerns me is the potential for this to turn into a world wide SOPA style thing eventually or even have people disappearing in the middle of the night due to private emails they send to friends condemning a govenment being turned over

Google is a fair weather friend, but I suppose any friend is better than none.

The way im reading this companies like Google have a lot to lose over this. They have invested so much in infrastructure to provide these services and strive to improve them. No government should come in and impose rules and guidelines that turn this into a bureaucratic nightmare.

Who gave the UN this kind of power! I demand a world wide referendum revoking any power the UN has over the internet.
The UN is a broken system anyways, toss them in the trash I say.
Leave the internet alone. Its fine

wombat_of_war:
what concerns me is the potential for this to turn into a world wide SOPA style thing eventually or even have people disappearing in the middle of the night due to private emails they send to friends condemning a govenment being turned over

I like how you went from censoring the internet to midnight abductions:
Today the internet.
Tomorrow, gulags!

Hmm the u.n. came up with an idea to censor the internet? aren't these the same nimrods that sent rapists to africa claiming they were going to help out poor people?

Just to try and play devils advocate.
I can see why countries like Russia and China a not all that happy that the internet, which is becoming more and more integral to our society, is more or less fully under the control of the US. Some will say that it is because they want to censor all the "free speech" coming from out side their countries (and that may indeed be the case) but I would like to remind every one about the case with the British extradition. The US claimed that all .com domains where under their jurisdiction! A lot of Europeans where not to happy to hear that (those who heard it).

The internet is important to all of us and the thing we have right now is working fine, but let us not forget that it is pretty much in the firm control if the US. And while I do not, currently, have any reason to fear this situation it is not something we should take for granted.

THAT SAID!

This does not look like the best solution. Then again the UN, while it is almost nothing but and inefficient bureaucracy with little power to enforce its few decisions, is still our best bet so far for making any truly international agreement.

Google quite frankly should be sending cooperation to getting this done right instead of trying to rally opposition for it.

Individual countries are just going to lock down the internet a bit more on their own and the offenders will look for loopholes or jurisdiction arguments to get around them resulting in tighter restrictions in a never ending cycle. A U.N. or worldwide agreement on something like this is sorely needed because the internet needs and will have more regulations and supervision put on it. Question is will each country try to do it individually or try to do it unified and the U.N. is the best way we have to try and do that.

It's ability for easy international cooperation and communication is unmatched however it's ease to commit crime is also unmatched on a global scale. The world needs to be on the same page to deal with the type of people who would abuse the internet and be shielded with every loophole and jurisdiction argument they can cook up to keep getting away with harming people or entire other countries.

Gotta love it how they all want to secure their own control while waving a banner of freedom :D
Governments aren't to be trusted with this but nor are the companies, let's not forget that SOPA, PIPA, ACTA and whatever might yet come were all conjured up and forced onto governments by the companies looking for control in the first place.

Ya Google will do for now however they care about their hides only, sofar we were lucky their business hinged on open channels but should that ever change this will be one nasty bed fellow.

We have China and Russia supporting this law. Does anyone seriously think that law would be any good for the internet?
I'm on Google's side on this one.

Andy Chalk:
"For example, at the Internet Governance Forum, anyone can attend and anyone can speak - a government official has the same influence as an individual."

Google have really not thought that idea through have they. It costs money to physically travel, so the Chinese government, or google for that matter, could pack out the forum with its own supporters. Any physical forum would just become full of paid lobbyists and special interest groups. Even if you managed to write rules stopping that, the result would be different depending on where it is held. If the forum is held in Palo Alto it would a different result than one held in Tel Aviv or New Delhi. I agree that there are problems with the Russian proposal but the reality is a hippyish forum isn't going to stop those.

JUST LIVE BRITNEY...i mean, JUST LEAVE THE INTERNET ALONE!

So where can I find this Petition?

Sir Shockwave:
So where can I find this Petition?

Depends where you live at. The US's House of Representatives have already condemned the bill so there's no need to Petition against this in the US. I managed to find a petition for New Zealand if that's where you live.

DVS BSTrD:

Free and open my ass.

Why should I be? I'm up for new things, I guess...depends on what it looks like : )

OT: This doesn't feel right. Sure it probably isn't ideal that the U.S. has such a stranglehold on it now, but at least I can take comfort in the openness and freedom that we've enjoyed so far. There is room for infrastructural improvements, but not sweeping changes. It's the last bastion of open sharing of ideas and information (except isolationist governments that aren't into their citizens having that kind of thing). Me and Google aren't exactly friends but I'll probably do him this favor.

Al-Bundy-da-G:

Sir Shockwave:
So where can I find this Petition?

Depends where you live at. The US's House of Representatives have already condemned the bill so there's no need to Petition against this in the US. I managed to find a petition for New Zealand if that's where you live.

What about the UK? Is David Cameron being an idiot as usual?

wombat_of_war:
seriously what is with it with governments and trying to "fix" things that arent broken.

all i can really say is build the future you want to see not the future a well paid suit or someone who fears a disenting view wants

Because not everyone likes the US having control over the internet and thus enforce its laws on the rest of the world + claim duristiction. I'd like to see the net become a global rather than American regulated system, IF its done right. And to be honest that's a huge if.

Wait, so they want to take the power from a single country and spread it out... and Googles argument is "Keep it in the US, other countries want to censor it."? Yeah, Google... last time I checked, so did the US.

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