Internet control strategy at UN may threaten global freedom, warns FCC commissioner
A new internet regulatory strategy seeking to use the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) may eventually threaten freedom and prosperity across the globe, warns Robert McDowell, of the Federal Communications Commission.
McDowell has summarized the situation in a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece. He thinks those who believe in internet freedom should be concerned.
Suspicions are aroused at Techdirt.com by the “…fact that this effort is mainly being led by Russia and China…” and by the reputations of those countries. Neither have been especially supportive of freedom of speech principles they say.
But the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the People’s Republic of China thinks differently. “In recent years, information and network security have drawn wide attention from the international community,” a statement says. And they explain this effort as a response to “rising calls to formulate international rules to standardize information and cyberspace behavior.”
In this month’s Vanity Fair, Hamadoun Touré, secretary-general of the UN’s ITU, is mentioned as being both charming and wily. In the interview, he says American Internet users account for just one-tenth of the total and adds, “When an invention becomes used by billions across the world, it no longer remains the sole property of one nation, however powerful that nation might be.”
The article goes on to characterize this as “Order” (and wanting to impose pre-digital power structures) versus “Disorder” (and wanting to abandon those structures to create a new global culture).