Spearheaded by the backward nations in terms of freedom of speech of the UN, (Middle Eastern countries, China and so forth), internet freedom is once again hot topic. This time it's not for monies as per with corporations, but nations wanting to control the flow of information even further. Some sense is coming from US and EU but they seem to be overwhelmed by the others.
The most worrying thing is that some of the parties in this discussion are intentionally throwing out very draconian things so the "moderate ground" could be reached through compromise.
Many of the U.N.'s 193 member states oppose the open, uncontrolled nature of the Internet. Its interconnected global networks ignore national boundaries, making it hard for governments to censor or tax. And so, to send the freewheeling digital world back to the state control of the analog era, China, Russia, Iran and Arab countries are trying to hijack a U.N. agency that has nothing to do with the Internet.
For more than a year, these countries have lobbied an agency called the International Telecommunications Union to take over the rules and workings of the Internet. Created in 1865 as the International Telegraph Union, the ITU last drafted a treaty on communications in 1988, before the commercial Internet, when telecommunications meant voice telephone calls via national telephone monopolies.The 12-day conference of the International Telecommunications Union, a 157-year-old organization that's now an arm of the United Nations, largely pits revenue-seeking developing countries and authoritarian regimes that want more control over Internet content against U.S. policymakers and private Net companies that prefer the status quo.Members of the European Parliament backed a resolution which urged member states to reject changes to the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITR) which would "negatively impact the internet, its architecture, operations, content and security, business relations, internet governance and the free flow of information online".While specifics of some of the most contentious proposals remain secret, leaked drafts show that Russia is seeking rules giving individual countries broad permission to shape the content and structure of the Internet within their borders, while a group of Arab countries is advocating universal identification of Internet users. Some developing countries and telecom providers, meanwhile, want to make content providers pay for Internet transmission.Fundamentally, most of the 193 countries in the ITU seem eager to enshrine the idea that the U.N. agency, rather than today's hodgepodge of private companies and nonprofit groups, should govern the Internet.http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/1...8AQ06120121127The ITU's top official, Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré, sought to downplay the concerns in a separate interview, stressing to Reuters that even though updates to the treaty could be approved by a simple majority, in practice nothing will be adopted without near-unanimity.
"Voting means winners and losers. We can't afford that in the ITU," said Touré, a former satellite engineer from Mali who was educated in Russia.
Touré predicted that only "light-touch" regulation on cyber-security will emerge by "consensus," using a deliberately vague term that implies something between a majority and unanimity.
He rejected criticism that the ITU's historic role in coordinating phone carriers leaves it unfit to corral the unruly Internet, comparing the Web to a transportation system.
"Because you own the roads, you don't own the cars and especially not the goods they are transporting. But when you buy a car you don't buy the road," Touré said. "You need to know the number of cars and their size and weight so you can build the bridges and set the right number of lanes. You need light-touch regulation to set down a few traffic lights."
Because the proposals from Russia, China and others are more extreme, Touré has been able to cast mild regulation as a compromise accommodating nearly everyone.