Can the internet be shut down? Probabally, but will it? Maybe.
May 31, 2012 11:16 PM   Subscribe

ITU Power-grab, or is something else brewing behind the scenes? C-SPAN Video coverage of fascinating proposal to give the United Nations more control over the Internet. The proposal, backed by China, Russia, Brazil and India, is being examined in depth. And some folks aren't liking what they see...

Witness testimony includes dire warning from Vinton Cerf, one of the Fathers of the Internet and now Chief Internet Evangelist at Google. FCC Comissioner Robert McDowell stated concerns back in February in this opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal. Mathew Ingram at GigaOm explains.
posted by RoseyD (18 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
These proposals represent a particular naked power grab for internet wide censorship powers, well they originate with (Putin (129).

There has luckily already been a resolution (pdf) passed against this, although congress will happily search for compromise treaties that gives themselves even more draconian powers, ala the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

As an aside, three European Parliament committees rejected ACTA yesterday.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:21 AM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Didn't the ITU already have it's own Internet based on X.25 and it was basically abandoned the femtosecond everyone could move to one based on TCP/IP?
posted by PenDevil at 1:23 AM on June 1, 2012

On Thursday, a bi-partisan group of U.S. congressional officials said they will resist this attempt with everything they have — but will it be enough?

This is not because they are opposed to an elite controlling the Internet; this is because they are worried that they won't be the elite.
posted by dubold at 1:33 AM on June 1, 2012 [10 favorites]

Yeah... the problem is that the organization that currently "runs" the internet is actually... the US government.

For a long time, they delegated that power to ICANN/IANA, but recently they decided to pull the strings and yank various .com domains over some piracy bullshit. Once they did that they basically played their hand and showed everyone else in the world that they were in control of these independent bodies.

Anyway, let's not pretend like everyone has to agree to this stuff. If China and Russia want to rout packets between their countries following ITU standards instead of IETF (or whatever) standards who is going to stop them?

Anyway, what exactly are they proposing anyway? They have always been pissed about things like not getting much IPv4 space and so on, and other technical issues. In the past, the ITU regulated the global telephone network.

The thing is, any communication link can have another link layered on top of it, with crypto if you want, so if these guys wanted to fragment the internet, you could still connect from country to country with the right software.

And, in fact, they can already do that now if they want, with all the filters, etc.

The only thing I can guess that might matter is if they wanted to make future technologies as easy to censor as IPv4 currently is. Like right now, it's easy to identify a particular machine by IP, and you can block that traffic. With IPv6 you can get a new address for every connection

So they might want to modify the standards to help keep censorship possible between borders.

But, of course The US government wants the same thing Blocking foreign traffic was the entire point of SOPA.
posted by delmoi at 3:02 AM on June 1, 2012 [6 favorites]

The most realistic concern over the ITU getting control is that they'll be slow, bureaucratic and political, and basically stifle basic development of the internet
posted by delmoi at 3:04 AM on June 1, 2012

Vint Cerf's testimony.
posted by scalefree at 3:25 AM on June 1, 2012

Given its track record (X.25), even if the ITU had the best of intentions it would still be a fucking disaster and inevitably lead to a protocol fork down the road, when everyone interested in a network that actually works refuses to implement whatever designed-by-committee garbage they produce.

Let them have the telephone network, but for the love of god don't give them anything new.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:27 AM on June 1, 2012

pissed about things like not getting much IPv4 space

I just had this ugly image of country level NAT.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:43 AM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

You know if China is behind it, its -got- to be good Internet policy.

I expect the freakosphere who believe that the UN is after our forests will absolutely love this.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:21 PM on June 1, 2012

WSJ's Crovitz : The U.N.'s Internet Power Grab
posted by jeffburdges at 11:03 AM on June 18, 2012

American University Intellectual Property Brief: The ITU, ICANN, and Control over the Internet.
posted by RoseyD at 6:22 PM on June 24, 2012

PCWorld Business Center: House Panel: ITU Should Stay Away From Internet Regulation
posted by RoseyD at 6:27 PM on June 24, 2012
posted by RoseyD at 6:32 PM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

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