Friday, January 07, 2011

Nations Clamping Down on Internet Freedom

Scott Bradner comments that Internet Freedom is under attack by nations around the world, in his article Goodbye Internet, we hardly knew ye?

"Throughout its history, the Internet, in most places, has been essentially free from government regulation. There are significant exceptions -- a few countries do quite an effective job of controlling Internet content and a number of countries control specific Internet technologies such as encryption and VoIP. But, on the whole, the Internet has been left alone.

"Governments, in general, do not much like the Internet, or at least the Internet-based activities that they do not control. Some governments, such as China, have established strong controls over the Internet in their own countries. Venezuela has just proposed to do the same.

"Restructuring the Internet so that each country has a control point could easily wipe out the ability of Internet users to find out what is going on in the world.

"But we do not have to wait until the UN acts to see the future. The U.S. government recently seized a bunch of domain names without letting the owners contest the seizure.

"News reports show that the U.S. government pressured PayPal and Amazon to stop supporting WikiLeaks, again without any due process. You do not have to be a fan of WikiLeaks to understand that letting the U.S. government decide, on its own, without the legal process defined in our Constitution, what should and what should not be accessible on the Internet is not a recipe for freedom. Maybe they can take pointers from China."

(for more, see Goodbye Internet, we hardly knew ye?, by Scott Bradner)

(Also see 10 Ways the Chinese Internet is Different From Yours)

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