NZ refuses to sign up to greater govt control of the Internet

December 15th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

An attempt by national governments to establish a worldwide policy for oversight of the internet collapsed after many Western countries – including New Zealand – said a compromise plan gave too much power to United Nations and other officials.

As I said, compromise is only good when both sides basically want the same thing. It is bad when one set of Governments want to control the Internet.

Delegates from the United States, UK, Australia and other countries took the floor on the next to last day of a UN conference in Dubai to reject revisions to a treaty governing international phone calls and data traffic.

“It’s with a heavy heart and a sense of missed opportunities that the US must communicate that it’s not able to sign the agreement in the current form,” said Terry Kramer, the US ambassador to the gathering of the UN’s International Telecommunication Union.

Communications Minister Amy Adams tweeted that New Zealand “do not agree with coming under the ITRs.”

While other countries will sign the treaty on Friday, the absence of so many of the largest economies means that the document, already watered down to suit much of the West, will have little practical force.

Hopefully this has been a valuable lesson to some of the more authoritarian countries. By trying to sneak in a resolution on greater involvement, they ended up with all the major countries (in telecommunications terms) refusing to sign up to the revised treaty at all. This means that the 1988 regulations continue for countries like New Zealand.

“Maybe in the future we could come to a fragmented internet,” delegate Andrey Mukhanov, a top international official at Russia’s Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications, told Reuters. “That would be negative for all, and I hope our American, European colleagues come to a constructive position.”

Ha, they can bluster but a fragmented Internet will have far greater disadvantages for the authoritarian states than the free ones. They’re welcome to go set up their own private Internet of China, Russia and the Middle East and see how many people use it.

Tariq al-Awadhi of the United Arab Emirates, head of the Arab States’ delegation, said his group had been “double-crossed” by the US bloc after it had agreed to a compromise deal that moved internet issues out of the main treaty and into a nonbinding resolution that said the ITU should be part of the multi-stakeholder model.

There was no compromise. 30 countries voted against the resolution and under UN rules the resolution should not have been accepted as it did not have consensus.

89 countries will sign the revised treaty, but 55 countries will not. Those 55 would I’d say represent 90% of the Internet infrastructure at least. The countries are shown here. Basically Africa (bar Malawi and Gambia) all signed, Asia, (except Japan), all signed. Europe pretty much all against including Belarus and Georgia. US and Canada against and Central and Latin America split. Australia and NZ not signing also of course.

I wish this was the end of the battle, but there are other conferences coming up, where the same countries will try again.

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17 Responses to “NZ refuses to sign up to greater govt control of the Internet”

  1. Pete George (23,683 comments) says:

    Good to see this. But it may not be the end of the battle even here.

    Will New Zealand’s position change? The Labour spokesperson wants authoritarian control over the use of the Internet by Labour party members, and exercise excessively authoritarian practices on their blog. If they want to extend this to government control then they may side with the authoritarian countries.

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  2. tristanb (1,127 comments) says:

    Labour loves the UN. It’s where Shearer was bludging before her joined the party, and it’s where Helen and Chris Carter when afterwards to continue bludging.

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  3. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    “Maybe in the future we could come to a fragmented internet,” delegate Andrey Mukhanov, a top international official at Russia’s Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications, told Reuters. “That would be negative for all,…”

    I wonder under what illusion he labours that the internet needs Russia?

    World: Hey Russia, here’s an incredible resource that you can just use, we’ve done all the hardwork, it’s really simple, get onboard.
    Russia: Oh yeah, thanks, we want to control it if we use it though. Please change it.
    World: Um, yeah, nah, we’re pretty happy with it.
    Russia: I wish you would be constructive.

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  4. kowtow (8,762 comments) says:

    Non democratic countries should have no rights at the UN.

    It’s a farce. Dictators ,mullahs etc get a vote on the world stage while their oppressed subjects have no rights at home.

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  5. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    Agreed, tristanb and kowtow.
    A Liarbore government would have sold us out and signed the agreement.
    I completely agree that the UN is a farce. A corrupt, incompetent and overbearing farce.

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  6. projectman (228 comments) says:

    “…compromise is only good when both sides basically want the same thing.”

    It’s not a compromise when you are esentially in agreement.

    A compromise is practically never the right solution as it is always lose-lose.

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  7. peterwn (3,307 comments) says:

    Seems to be some modesty from DPF here. He is a respected authority on the internet and his views and thoughts surely had influence on the Government’s attitude towards the ITU negotiations.

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  8. Harriet (5,131 comments) says:

    “…..An attempt by national governments to establish a worldwide policy for oversight…” -Stuff.

    Oversight?

    “….It’s with a heavy heart and a sense of missed opportunities that the US must communicate that it’s not able to sign the agreement in the current form,…” – US Ambassador.

    With a heavy heart…not able….In the current form?

    “…..Communications Minister Amy Adams tweeted that New Zealand “do not agree with Internet Governance coming under the ITRs….”

    Do not agree?

    And this is why the UN will EVENTUALLY get it’s way…as the West is too weak to say….NO….GET FUCKED…..FUCK OFF YOU TOTALATARIAN FASCISTS!

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  9. mavxp (492 comments) says:

    Harriet, they did say that, but in diplomatic speak. We still want their money and oil.

    These bastards are wanting to drag us (or at least their own people) back into the dark ages and/or an Orwellian dystopia. Well, arguably some of them are still there… and the internet challenges that status quo.

    Yay, Go the West!

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  10. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Disband the UN , the most wasteful, corrupt institution on the planet.

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  11. Elaycee (4,409 comments) says:

    …the UN , the most wasteful, corrupt institution on the planet.

    Ain’t that the truth.

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  12. flipper (4,205 comments) says:

    Yippeee.
    Back in sync with Elaycee and Paul east again…:)
    Agree on all counts, especially since the original purpose of the UN (prior to it being screwed by the Sovs and the subsequent cold war) was solely one of preventing international conflict.

    But, as always, panty-waist bureaucrats had to justfy (and ensure they were not eroded) their free salaries by extending their role into a raft of other areas., This ITU (particularly the bureaucratic power grab attempt) is just the latest effort. Agenda 21 sets out a somewhat frightening agenda, but then that is all conspiracy theory……. ?

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  13. Anthony (798 comments) says:

    The ITU is a much older organisation than the UN, dating back to the use of telegraph, – what a pity the UN took it over.

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  14. Manolo (14,059 comments) says:

    Whatever organisation comrade Helen Clark is part of, ought to be corrupt to the core.

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  15. chiz (1,164 comments) says:

    Iran is already trying to set up its own “halal internet”.

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  16. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    The UN won’t disband.

    It’s where sovereign oligarchs aspire to go when their egos have outgrown the patience of their national voters. Or in the case of despots, it’s where they’re invited to lead disarmament commissions, and help coach the more civilised on the finer points of ruling without a mandate.

    For these would-be global dictators the UN is a place where the gold trough is immesurably deeper, and accountability nonexistent.

    We should abandon the UN. It is corrupt to the core, and more dangerous to our independent future than we dare imagine.

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  17. the conservative (66 comments) says:

    This is absolutely dangerous stuff; what we all must understand whether left or right, when freedom of speech goes, we have nothing; we are nobody.

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