Internet Free Speech

September 27th, 2004 at 7:21 am by David Farrar

There is an ongoing battle over Internet governance, which is now being investigated by a UN working group. Most western countries want the naming and addressing system kept in the private sector, while some other countries want a inter-governmental body such as the ITU to perform this function.

There is an interesting article on Icann Watch about a recent UN meeting, and the Brazilian Government’s view.

Brazil said “It is a myth that an intergovernmental approach will jeopardize the free speech on the internet. Free speech is endangered when one government controls the system, not when all do.”

I could not disagree more strongly. The nature of international politics is you will have deals such as “I’ll vote for a domain name tax to fund third world computers, if you vote to support this ban on domain names which make fun of my President”.

I could also easily see coalitions between religious states, agreeing to push for domain names which blaspheme, or which host material which blasphemes, to be banned. Of course it won’t work, but it will impose huge costs, and it will stifle what we have.

Few things concern me as much, as this attempt by some countries through the UN to “govern” the Internet.

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6 Responses to “Internet Free Speech”

  1. Gaz () says:

    Pretty rich that some countries want to regulate (control) the internet, considering it was the US military who originally set it up.

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  2. Sheath () says:

    I do love people defending ICANN with the sole approach of ‘FUD’. I cant see _anyone_ doing much worse than ICANN and you of all people defending ICANN is a crock.

    Stop with the FUD, your like a certian legal person we both know running for a certian board spot. Start with some facts as ICANN is about minus one billion in the black for their so called ‘handling’ of the gTLD in that last 6 years.

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  3. Aaron Bhatnagar () says:

    The UN in charge of the internet? Why not, after all they have done such a good job of sorting out Darfur.

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  4. ztev () says:

    There is allready a ‘phone tax’ in the US which is used to pay for internet connections for schools.
    The computer companies have been making hay from this. A primary school in Florida got a ‘million dollar server’, for a school with about 700 kids.
    A large city in Texas, El Paso had a computer help center set up , which was dismantled after 3 months because they couldnt pay the ongoing charges after getting the capital costs for free.

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  5. David Farrar () says:

    Steven – I don’t think I did defend ICANN. I solely said that having the UN/ITU take over is a worse alternative.

    AT least ICANN has finally given up thinking it can set global policy for all ccTLDS. It took around five years to beat that idea out of them.

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  6. Charles () says:

    For heaven’s sake, keep the UN out of the internet. Even suggesting having this impotent, incompetent organisation of self serving professional bureaucrats trying to regulate and run something as important as the internet defies description.

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