Feeds

World Summit blog: internet, freedom of speech and the UN

Asking the questions, giving the answers

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top three mobile application threats

WSIS Tunis The most controversial aspect of this whole world summit hasn't been the ensuing fight of who should run the internet but where it is being hosted: Tunisia.

Stories about the clampdown on freedom of speech by the government in Tunisia have been the main focus of most stories up to now. It is nowhere near as bad as, say, China but many countries have questioned why a summit about the Information Society (essentially, the Internet) should be based somewhere that denies the most inspiring and revolutionary aspect of this new medium - ready access to enormous, global amounts of information.

The criticism has been heavy and sustained. It even led to a formal question at the end of the Geneva PrepCom3 conference by Western countries over whether Tunisia would guarantee freedom of speech during the conference.

The Tunisian ambassador was embarassed and incensed. He testily told the gathered governments, organisations and media that Tunisia had stated time and again that usual UN rules would apply at the conference - which meant complete freedom of representation.

But despite these words, no heads of governments from Western "liberal" countries are attending. And the UN has had problems getting big names to take part because they don't want to provide the Tunisian government with legitimacy.

If this wasn't indication enough, the United Nations has actually produced an FAQ document covering "the privileges and immunities granted to participants" of the Summit.

There are 13 questions and the first is: "Is there any category of Summit participants who do not enjoy privileges and immunities?" I have to confess that the very fact that the UN felt the need to produce such a document caused me to print out the French version which I keep close to hand in case I end up on the wrong side of one of the thousands of security services men or policeman patrolling night and day.

The Tunisian government does not like the idea of a free press. There were three young women keeping an eye out for journalists at the airport when I arrived. I decided to avoid the Media desk and get through the police/passport check. But I had asked and noted down the address of where I needed to pick up my official badge, and one of them spotted my reporter's notepad.

I was immediately pulled aside, and while she was charming and helpful, she also managed to take down my name, passport number and even my NUJ number.

There is also a bizarre tendency for my hotel to try to keep hold of my passport whenever possible. First, it was just to make a copy of it. But that copy would for some reason take five hours. I went back and got it. But today, another reason was found to take it off me. What about the copy, I asked. "Oh, the copy didn't work, we need another one."

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.