Feeds

FCC boss applauds moves to block UN internet control

ITU headman warns of trouble from 'credulous members of the public'

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has issued a public statement of support after a senior Congressional committee unanimously approved a resolution condemning moves to bring the internet under new management.

Government representatives should "continue working to implement the position of the United States on Internet governance that clearly articulates the consistent and unequivocal policy of the United States to promote a global Internet free from government control and preserve and advance the successful multistakeholder model that governs the Internet today," the resolution reads.

Congress has recently been holding hearings on proposals that will be put forward for the 2012 World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) to be held in Dubai this December. The proposals are for the UN's International Telecommunication Union to have a revised role in the governance of the internet, rather than the current model, and – among other things – possibly include changing the payment systems for online traffic.

Mary Bono Mack

'Get your Commie hands off our interwebs,'
says former wife of Cher's former husband

"Despite denials, the Russians and Chinese are working quietly behind the scenes – and have been for years – to exert control over Web content and infrastructure," said resolution sponsor Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (widow of Sonny, formerly of Cher fame). "This could lead to human rights abuses in the future and effectively put a spigot on the free flow of information. We can't let that happen."

The so-called 'Father of the internet' and Google's chief internet evangelist Vint Cerf warned Congress that such a move would destroy the system of "meritocratic democracy" that had made the internet such a success. It seems he now has a supporter at the FCC as well, judging from Genachowski's statement.

"I applaud the Energy and Commerce Committee for its bipartisan resolution supporting the successful multistakeholder model of Internet governance and rejecting proposals that could stifle the free and open Internet," Genachowski wrote.

"Proposals to abandon the multistakeholder model would be devastating to the future of the Internet," he said, "and I will continue to work with my colleagues at the FCC and throughout the U.S. government to oppose such proposals."

But at a speech in Geneva on Wednesday, the ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré said that the proposals had not even been published yet – although he urged that they should be. They are designed to stimulate growth in the telecommunications sector as a whole and allow for further expansion, he said.

"It has come as a surprise – and I have to say as a great disappointment – to see that some of those who have had access to proposals presented to this working group have gone on to publicly mis-state or distort them in public forums, sometimes to the point of caricature," he said.

"These distortions and mis-statements could be found plausible by credulous members of the public, and could even be used to influence national parliaments, given that the documents themselves are not officially available."

Dr Hamadoun Touré

'Trust me, I'm with the UN,' says Touré

Touré harked back to the historic 1988 WCIT meeting, which laid out the ground rules for the current internet-regulation system, and said that many of the same concerns had been raised at that meeting. Concerns over control and charging expressed then hadn't turned out to be a problem then, he said, and he hoped for a similar resolution in December.

Nevertheless, Touré said that the Article 34 of the ITU's constitution was very clear, and it could not stop member states from censoring their networks "in accordance with their national law, any private telecommunications which may appear dangerous to the security of the State, or contrary to its laws, to public order or to decency." ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.