European Parliament votes to fight ITU internet power grab
Hey you, get off of my cloud
The European Parliament has passed a resolution protesting plans by the International Telecommunications Union to seize regulatory control of the internet.
"[The European Parliament] believes that the ITU, or any other single, centralised international institution, is not the appropriate body to assert regulatory authority over either internet governance or internet traffic flows," the resolution reads. It was passed by a large majority of EP officials.
Next month, during an 11-day World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in the sunshine of Dubai, the ITU will be meeting to discuss the next draft of the internet regulations that have remained unchanged since 1988.
What's worrying the EP, along with an unlikely coalition of Google, the US Republican party, organized labor, and Greenpeace, is that the meeting might try and take over regulatory oversight for internet communications in a closed-door coup. The US government has said it will oppose serious moves to change the current regulatory order, but how effective that will be remains to be seen.
"The resolution of the Parliament is a big success for internet users. This sends a clear and positive signal to the European Commission and the Member States", said Amelia Andersdotter, MEP for the Pirate Party and co-submitter of the resolution, in a statement.
Nation states, notably Russia and China, are pushing for more power over internet regulations, a responsibility handled by non-governmental bodies like ICANN, the Internet Engineering Task Force and the Internet Society up until now. Many fear this will lead to countries seeking to bend internet regulations to their own ends or cripple them with transnational data charges.
While there have been problems in internet regulation with the current approach, not least the troubling rule of the now-departed ICANN boss Rod Beckstrom, in El Reg's opinion giving direct regulatory control to the ITU would be a huge mistake. New ICANN boss Fadi Chehadé will have a tough time fighting for his organization's rights at WCIT this year, but needs support such as that from the EP. ®
Whatever else may happen, I am quite convinced that any organisation controlled by the US Government or its corporate masters is entirely unsuitable for managing the internet.
In fact, I think that the only management the internet "needs" is technical. Not only do I not want the US Government but I don't want any other ones either. That means I don't want help from Russia, China, the Middle East, Africa or any other political or religious organisations.
The internet needs technicians and it provides governments and corporations with a lot of money in taxes and profits. Some of that income needs to be returned and spent on maintaining and expanding the infrastructure. Technicians need political interference like they need orchidectomies without anaesthetic.
Re: Nobody can regulate Internet traffic flow
Surely, Sir, you are missing the point that the organization is non-profit, but that the people at the helm are most certainly for-profit. Have you never seen these pensioners running charitable / non-profit organizations and creaming off to make sure that the organization is indeed non-profit?
The rules in the US tax code on nonprofits are very strict and prevent that, otherwise everyone would do it. Reasonable salaries can be paid but the idea that directors can tap millions from a nonprofit and turn round and claim "but the company didn't make any money" is completely wrong. Indeed ICANN's own articles of incorporation are clear:
No part of the net earnings of the Corporation shall inure to the benefit of or be distributable to its members, directors, trustees, officers, or other private persons, except that the Corporation shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in Article 3 hereof.
It is not nation states which are pushing this
It is incumbent telecoms operators desperate to charge for "browsing foreighn web sites" and "browsing premium websites" on a per-minute basis. The ones that want it are the ones incapable of generating money by any means different from artificial scarcity or government backhanders. This goes along very nicely with the ideas of some countries to achieve through financial means what has proved impossible technically. Example - China/Huawei's proposed financial model for internet peering (which will pretty much create a financial great FireWall of China around most world markets).
This list includes most usual suspects from surprise surprise - Eu. Coming back to the the way ITU works you have both government representation and incumbent telecommunication company representation. The reason why this madness is getting traction in the first place is not China or Russia, it is the industry reps from the Eu which support it.
So the Eu parliament should clean up its own backyard first. Otherwise its intervention will not work - it will be a repeat event.