[LINK] ITU … plays for control again

Frank O'Connor francisoconnor3 at bigpond.com
Mon Nov 12 20:57:54 AEDT 2012

On 12/11/2012, at 5:59 PM, Jim Birch <planetjim at gmail.com> wrote:

> I would need a bit of convincing that the same level of cooperation could
> be achieved with the Internet, given that it is such a massive economic and
> political resource that everyone wants a bit of, but the idea of it being
> an international common property is right.  I'm also not in principle
> opposed to paying a small level of tax for my internet use to assist in the
> provision of access to the world's poor.

Well yeah .... but the ITU wants the rest of us to pay more for the Internet ... see the annojncm,ents from Charges which presumably they will pocket and distribute as they see fit (and they have a REALLY bad record of distributing their copious income to needy and deserving nations rather than to cronies), and they'll want a seat at the standards table ... the IETF ("Look what a terrific job we did with our ISO standards ... hey, we had sixteen, not just one, incompatible e-mail streaming standards all called X400, and all the Internet has is SMTP ... how could you not want us? I mean ... who would buy all those expensive Gateways if not for incompatible standards like that?"), and they'll be unrepresentative of Internet users but more than representative of the big telcos and big metal hardware suppliers who milk said users for their rivers of cash - because that's where their members are drawn from, and they'll take onboard political, religious, cultural and other sensitivities so that the only information which flows will be the bland inoffensive type that doesn't upset anyone, and they'll have no problem with tracking and monitoring Internet users and usage for governments that think they need that, and ...

Well, you get my drift.

What we have now isn't ideal, but it's largely a set of organisations that run the Internet through benign neglect. The only critical bit for my money is the IETF, and the others rather parasitically just take advantage of a situation which others created and bought into being for them. Business, economic ideology or whatever came to the Internet very late in the piece, government even later ... and by and large that was good for the development of the nascent network. I'd argue that in many ways it became wildly popular because it was ignored by government and business until it had become wildly popular.

There were early controlled commercial alternatives ... Compuserve, America Online, Microsoft Net, etc etc ... but none of them has the free-wheeling attraction so the Net ... with its noisy, opinionated and often unpleasnat debate, with the outrageous USENET in which it was more often than not noise rather than debate leading the charge and eventually evolving into the little numbers that now dominate social networking (Twitter, FaceBook, Blogging etc etc etc)

The ITU now wants to add itself to this party ... but brings no added value, no raison d'etre, no solving of an existing problem. It simply wants a seat at the table ... mainly I'd suggest because the revenue streams it and its members currently make money from (and I include little numbers telephony, hard switched networking, big metal gateways and switches and others) are under threat from the Internet. Turns out packet switched networking is pretty adaptable as a communications medium ...

> wrt repressive regimes, they already restrict internet activity for their
> own reasons and this won't change if the UN was running the Internet.

Perhaps ... but I'd hate to see a body running the Internet that actually APPROVED of these restrictions, that was in a position to introduce such controls on the Internet generally, that offers the repressive regimes a seat at the table ... call me silly, but I think that could be a problem.

Again ... just my 2 cents worth.

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