Monday, December 20, 2010

UN wants to take over internet

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.

So opens an article by John Hilvert at ITNews. I think Mr. Hilvert must moonlight as a lawyer.

The upshot is that the UN is seeking to coordinate the control of the internet. But not to "takeover". Good idea, take control without taking over, if you can figure out how to do it. Not that I believe the UN is actually trying.

Apparently this push is inspired Wikileaks, but it was made possible by a resolution last 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."

I'm not sure, but I think just about anything governments do to regarding public policy and the internet will impact the day-to-day technical and operational matters. Especially since any UN group will probably support - if not push - many of the provisions of the ACTA treaty (I blogged here). Many of those provisions will directly affect both individual citizen and ISP's.

Fortunately there are people who see beyond the immediate gut reactions and see the wider picture. Defeating Napster actually had the opposite effect the RIAA had hoped for. The MPAA is in the process of learning that lesson, and the UN and other governments will likely learn the same thing. Data Control on the internet is like fighting the hydra. Once the beast is free, cutting one head off sees two more rise from the stump of the old. The time to control data is before it gets out, not after.