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back to article US drops ‘net regulation bombshell, threatens WCIT exit

As the ITU’s WCIT conference rolls on in Dubai, the head of the American delegation Terry Kramer has pointed to the big red button, threatening to veto any new treaty it believes puts the Internet at risk. America’s delegation has become increasingly agitated at the content of proposed changes to the ITRs – International …

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Anonymous Coward

The war over cyberspace. Seems wars over land are a thing of the past and it's the Internet that is important now.

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Paris Hilton

You must have been living under a stone avalanche for the last 15 years or so?

Watch out, there may be some sand in your shoes.

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Cyberspace

Information has always been something to fight over. Communication is paramount to personal freedom as well as economic development. Any amount of control of that can be a very useful land grab.

Like many here, I'm no fan of ICANN, or the US Government, but I do think that keeping the internet out of the ITU is the way to go. In this case, I'd side with the approach taken by the U.S. ambassador to the WCIT. (See ZDNet article.)

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Anonymous Coward

He who controls the Internet controls the WORLD...

MMMMMWWWWWWHHHHHAAAAAAAHHHHHAAAAAHHHHAAAAAAA!!!!!

The return of Dr Evil.....

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Meh

A

Solution to show these control freaks what would happen if the Internet is regulated by Governments...

Cut them all off for six months......

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Governing the internet, you must me joking, those in power today can't even govern their damned people.

Leave the internet alone, it's fine as it is.

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Not clear

It's still not clear to me what difference exactly any changes are going to make. As far as I know, China already filters all international internet traffic, I'm sure Russia has similair plans to keep Pusy Riot off the intertubes, Syria recently shut off the entire Internet to / from the country.

At worst, changing the rules will give these countries more (fake) legitimacy for whatever censorship / control they want to impose, but clearly the current rules are not preventing censorship control. Instead of the US (and the rest of the west) saying "keep the rules as they are", they should be pushing back with rule changes of their own, on the lines of "local organistaions aren't allowed to tamper with the integrity / openness of the internet ". It will be meaningless bluster and unenforceable text of course, but at least make it clear what the position is.

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Interoperability

The proposed regulation says “member states shall have the right to manage all naming, numbering, addressing and identification resources used for international telecommunications”

So we could have 193.1.0.0/16 (IE), 193.1.0.0/16 (FR), 193.1.0.0/16 (IN), 193.1.0.0/16 (MX), etc. Yeah, that'll work.

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Re: Interoperability

Well, we've almost reached the point at which we have 192.168.0.0/16 (Everywhere), but that aside...

Naming is intricately bound up with trademarks, trademarks are subject to national and international regulation and regulations are enforced by governments. That's how it works now. No change proposed there except an explicit recognition that countries have the right to legislate in their own jurisdiction.

I think the wider point being made is that had the international implications been really considered when IP was being designed, they wouldn't have come up with the present numbering and addressing scheme - they'd have come up with something more like E.164, which is an ITU standard and, coincidentally, a reason why the world isn't running out of phone numbers in the same way it's running out of IP addresses. And there might well have been an earlier solution to allow people to have domain names in their own language - a fairly basic requirement for a global technology.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Interoperability

> they'd have come up with something more like E.164, which is an ITU standard and, coincidentally, a reason why the world isn't running out of phone numbers

You mean something like E.164 first issue which was approved in October 1984 or the E.164 sixth issue which was approved in November 2010? Or perhaps its one of its predecessors like E.29 which was approved in 1960.

ITU has had multiple attempts to get it right and their numbering scheme (3 digits country code, 12 digits local) is similar to DNS rather than IPv4 so, for example the +44 would be like the .uk on the end of a hostname.

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Re: Interoperability

>ITU has had multiple attempts to get it right

The major changes have been in the total number of permitted digits for international dialling. Seems eminently sensible to me that you have a flexible scheme that adapts to a growing subscriber base rather than take the "640k should be enough for anyone" approach.

In any case, they seem to have managed these changes without my having to upgrade my telephone at any point.

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Unhappy

I shudder at the concept of any governing body that has the power to censor or "filter" material in the internet. It's a ridiculous notion that frightens me.

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WTF?

It's about standards, not censorship

Would you shudder at the concept of non-government bodies having the power to censor or filter material? For a lot of people, Google does this already.

The ITU isn't about censorship, it's about standards and interoperability. This is why you can buy an STM-16 or STM-64 pretty much anywhere in the world and know exactly how it will perform. Buy a 1Gbps or 10Gbps Ethernet and you may not. One is tightly defined, one isn't.

The anti-ITU arguments aren't really about censorship either, they're about money and 'net economics. The current Internet is a best efforts network. Some applications like VoIP, live video or online gaming would benefit from traffic prioritisation. To prioritise traffic fairly, some form of packet inspection may be needed. To implement SDN (Software Defined Networking), some packet inspection may be needed. To make that work reliably internationally, reliable standards are needed.

If the US or the US's big content providers don't want a more efficient network and would prefer a dumb, best-efforts Internet then that's fine and can be supported. Simply strip any priority tags off their packets at peering and transit points. They can keep a 'neutral' connection but if other users want their real-time apps delivered with higher quality of service, that could be provided.

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Re: It's about standards, not censorship

You have entirely missed the point. It's not about standards, it's about control. And it's not about the ITU, it's about governments. The proposals the US will hopefully veto would give *governments* control over naming and addressing, over all Internet operators rather than just telcos, and (a less publicised but equally crucial proposal) over routing policy.

I don't think we want any of that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's about standards, not censorship

"The proposals the US will hopefully veto would give other *governments* control over naming and addressing, over all Internet operators rather than just telcos"

FTFY

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Re: It's about standards, not censorship

Having watched some standards arguments, I've learned that most standards arguments aren't really about technical merits, they're driven by some other consideration. Most of the time it's really over whose production ox is going to get gored, but it can be about control and/or censorship.

I might be persuaded that you personally would put forward the best technical solution to implement those services. But inherent in the ability to inspect the packet is the ability to censor the packet or monitor it for the RIAA or MIAA or whatever the hell the movie people call themselves. And regardless of where you come down on the question of freetards downloading their entertainment from bit torrents on the Interwebs, that's a question that has to be carefully addressed, not blithely dismissed with the shout of 'it's only about the standards."

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Big Brother

Re: It's about standards, not censorship

"You have entirely missed the point. It's not about standards, it's about control. And it's not about the ITU, it's about governments."

Telecoms and the Internet are already about governments. You may have heard of Ofcom and even the Communications Act. All governments have similar legislation to regulate their communications markets. Because the world is interconnected, they also delegate standards work to bodies like the ITU. Vested interests have spun this as a control/censorship/privacy thing yet conveniently ignore that DPI and intercept capabilities are already baked into most equipment. For example-

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/routers/10000/10008/feature/guides/lawful_intercept/10LIovr.html

http://www.juniper.net/techpubs/en_US/junos/information-products/topic-collections/nce/lawful-intercept-flow-tap/lawful-intercept-using-flow-tap.pdf

show how the two largest router vendors comply with US legislation, which all US providers are meant to support.

As for naming and addressing, what's the problem with that being under more neutral or even formal control? ICANN's done an excellent (/sarc) job with it's new .TLDs. What if ISPs decide not to bother implementing them in their DNS? Governments could legislate to make that a condition of CSP's licences, ICANN has no real power to make anyone do anything. The US decides to go it's own way and it's no big deal, the Internet was designed to route around problems after all.

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Hypocritical rhetoric

Ha! After SOPA and the like, the words "pot" and "kettle" spring to mind!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hypocritical rhetoric

Ha! now we have SOPA meet China and Russia landgrab via the ITU rubbing their dirty wrinkly dicks at even more power?

http://ca.reuters.com/article/companyNews/idCAL5E8N83H720121209?sp=true

To say otherwise GTFO NOW!

Posted as AC to thwart the fascists here from following me :P

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Facepalm

The Internet should be self-regulated, like the media. That ensures.... oh wait...

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Devil

Comparing apples and oranges, you are.

"Internet" aka. "The Pipes" are the "Delivery Vans" of the "Media"

Control the delivery van, there is no need to control the "media" or ensure that an accident burns down the print shop.

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Anonymous Coward

We are very fortunate

that the country that spawned the internet also created the First Amendment. Perhaps not so fortunate that it also created the Patriot Act.

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Re: We are very fortunate

Come now. The day the US Presidency managed to unify a Constitution Shredder with a Constitution Scholar, well, things just jumped the shark.

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Re: We are very fortunate

it's a mix ..

we have very strong freedom of speech protection .. yet ..

the major news networks in the western world are following a script for the benefit of the central bankers and multi-extra-national megacorps

yet .. Alex Jones and the like remain on the web .. speak on the public airwaves ..

.. it is in the USA's strategic interest to promote freedom and freedom of information ... errr ... chaos .. in places like Russia .. China .. Iran .. an open worldwide internet without filters is a threat to all oppressive governments .. and those that deny basic human rights to it's people

protected .. ironically perhaps .. by our Bill Of Rights ..

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Unhappy

Power play of "Balance"?

My USA is sort of fictional, however it still holds that the USA of today, along with Russia, England, Australia, and many many other countries have governed what they can, to get the internet to what it is today. I cannot know all of what any 1 government is doing unless I dedicate my life to doing just that, and I have not. So can it be said that a combination of countries, which is what the ITU is essentially representing here, could do any better than what the current countries independently are doing?

What I'm mentioning here is fuzzy because it would take a lot of paragraphs to express my feelings exactly, but in a nutshell: What is so wrong with how it is working now to make the ITU believe they can make it better? And for whom believes that it can better, how will it be made better for them?

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Re: Power play of "Balance"?

"What is so wrong with how it is working now to make the ITU believe they can make it better? And for whom believes that it can better, how will it be made better for them?"

Two very good questions, for a start. Does anyone know the answers?

It's often the case that powerful organisations, governments in particular, state that something must change for the greater good, but never (or cannot) give specific examples or even realistic hypothetical examples of why the current system is bad and what benefits a new system will bring.

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Black Helicopters

Re:"What is so wrong with how it is working now"

"What is so wrong with how it is working now to make the ITU believe they can make it better? And for whom believes that it can better, how will it be made better for them?"

It isn't the ITU, it's the governments.

1. What's wrong is that all those nasty companies and citizens are doing what they want, not what the governments want. ("Troublesome priests", we used to call them.)

2. It can be made better for the governments by giving them complete control.

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Re: What is so wrong with how it is working now"

Complete control in a single entity, at least in the earthly sphere, has never resulted in anything good. The best we've managed is ordered liberty for a short time by dividing control amongst competing branches of government. Even that is now failing.

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Meh

US Strategy of Negotiation: Our Way or the Highway

The US obviously hasn't recognised that it is a fading star, it is in it's Big Bang era - just before becomes a hole.

Of course, this has happened at a speed greater than the collapse / disappearance of the British 'Empire'. Plus the US exists solely on borrowing - if the Chinese ever ca;l;ed their loans in the US would default.

Perhaps it is time to kill the veto of the UN so everyone is treated as equal.

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Meh

Re: US Strategy of Negotiation: Our Way or the Highway

"Plus the US exists solely on borrowing" Well, the USA military might disagree with that completely. Don't forget what makes a country, people with a military. This is first and foremost. Honor or dishonor, wealth or poverty, freedom or the lack of, all come after the first two. Thinking otherwise just ignores how every country has become to be.

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Re: US Strategy of Negotiation: Our Way or the Highway

> Don't forget what makes a country, people with a military.

I am sorry to say that I totally disagree with your national-socialistic worldview.

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Megaphone

Re: US Strategy of Negotiation: Our Way or the Highway

While I'm waiting for the backup to finish .... C.M. Kornbluth and the Syndicate:

"They had what they called laissez-faire, and it worked for a while until they got to tinkering with it. They demanded things called protective tariffs, tax remissions, subsidies — regulation, regulation, regulation, always of the other fellow. But there were enough bankers on all sides for everybody to be somebody else's other fellow. Coercion snowballed and the Government lost public acceptance. They had a thing called the public debt which I can't begin to explain to you except to say that it was something written on paper and that it raised the cost of everything tremendously. Well, believe me or not, they didn't just throw away the piece of paper or scratch out the writing on it. They let it ride until ordinary people couldn't afford the pleasant things in life.

Let me point out what the so-called Government stands for: brutal "taxation," extirpation of gambling, denial of life's simple pleasures to the poor and severe limitation of them to all but the wealthy, sexual prudery viciously enforced by penal laws of appalling barbarity, endless regulation and coercion governing every waking minute of the day. That was its record during the days of its power and that would be its record if it returned to power. I fail to see how this menace to our liberty can be condoned by certain marginal benefits which are claimed to accrue from its continued existence."

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Happy

Re: US Strategy of Negotiation: Our Way or the Highway

"I am sorry to say that I totally disagree with your national-socialistic worldview."

Sure you do, your people and it's military have allowed you to do so. No worries though, you are not alone in your feelings (not by a long shot). Many people (including I) forget on a daily basis that many have died within our own respective military to allow us to express our opinions in such a manner as this. Their deaths has given us great privileges. Never forget them, even if it cannot be by name.

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Re: US Strategy of Negotiation: Our Way or the Highway

if the Chinese ever ca;l;ed their loans in the US would default.

It's not possible for the US to (involuntarily) default on its obligations, since they are denominated in dollars and the US can create dollars in any amount at any time. The idea that the US (or Japan or the UK) can default is ludicrous. There is no economic difference between the US issuing $15 trillion in debt over the past however many years and the US printing $15 trillion itself during that time to come up with the difference. The main reason it is done this way is historic and because theoretically knowing money is being borrowed limits politicians desire to spend (though it's hard to see evidence of that over the past 30 years in the US)

The demand for a currency is created by things that can only be paid in that currency, so anyone who has to pay taxes in the US, wants to trade with the US, or buy assets in the US needs dollars even if they live elsewhere and conduct all their other transactions in another currency. The US still has the world's largest economy and is close behind the #1 ranked EU and #2 China in export value per year.

Another reason to issue debt rather than just printing money is because T-bills are the safest way to store dollars and are thus in great demand. There was actually a lot of concern in the late 90s when it looked like the US was going to be running surpluses for years to come that fewer T-bills being issued would create a lot of problems in financial markets. It would be nice to go back to worrying about that problem again!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: US Strategy of Negotiation: Our Way or the Highway

The more interesting thing is why isn't EU following suit. After all our elected representatives have unanimously voted to do the same.

Oh forgot, it is after all all those incumbent EU telecoms which are failing to compete.

They are the ones _ACTUALLY_ driving this, not China or Russia which are just the "public face" of "Put a Big Red Stop Button" on the Internet. So the fact that our elected reps voted against it does not matter - the bureacrats will do the exact opposite and represent what feeds them and provides them the the next opportunity on the vested opportunity salary carousel.

Time to write my MP a nastygram and ask why is the UK rep at said negotiations working in the interests of China and not UK (I know that this is a rhetorical question and I know the answer too).

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Mushroom

Re: US Strategy of Negotiation: Our Way or the Highway

What would happen to a country if its government failed to pay its military?

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Re: your national-socialistic worldview.

I don't think it was offered as an opinion, more as a statement of historical fact.

Notions like "civilised behaviour" and "the rule of law" are wrappers that people put around the harsh reality of brute force, so that they don't get hurt. Most of the time, this works. Every so often, the wrapping breaks and we all regret it. But the sharp pointy bits are always there, under the wrapping. No-one asks you to like it, but it is a simple statement of fact that some other bastard with a big enough army can rip all your fine notions asunder and the only way to stop him is to use an army of your own.

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Re: US Strategy of Negotiation: Our Way or the Highway

Strangely enough, there are countries without a military.

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Re: Their deaths

Significant nit with the word "given." Our Declaration makes it pretty clear those rights were "given" by our Creator, not by the deaths of patriots. Those patriots secured them, which isn't exactly the same thing. Given the rest of your statement, and a careful re-reading of your first, I think you meant "given" in the context of "secured" but given the way leftists have raped and continue to rape the language, we few defenders of the old ways need to be precise with our language.

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Pint

countries without militaries

This is true, but not if you look a little further. The Bahamas essentially has no military, and one day I found myself sharing a table in Nassau with a sailor in the Bahamas Navy. I expressed my surprise because I thought Bahamas HAD no military. The answer was enlightening - "Well we really don't, most of the equipment is used for drug interdiction. But we do know that if anyone decided to invade the Bahamas, the USA would never stand for it, so we have the strongest, most capable military in the entire world right in our back yard and we know they will back us up completely and immediately. The best part is we don't have to pay for it, you do!"

No military, well, no, but they have a direct line to a real good one should they ever need it.

It is nice to be appreciated, even if not exactly loved.

Most of the tiny nations in the word have mutual defense treaties with the big guys, so even if they have no official military, they can yell for help if they need it.

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Re: Their deaths

Yes - our argument has always been about which "creator"

Having visited some areas of the south, we beleive it must have been Cthullu

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Boggles

I see the US and the White house try to get themselves legislated a kill switch for the Internet at the same time they reject the rest of the world trying to take control so it can do the same. Boggles. Freedom. The Internet is the last example of it...or it was.

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Re: Boggles

Nothing mind boggling about it. The Big 0 in the big white house is a power hungry maniac like most of the third world dictators, so he wants all the power for himself. He's a bit more constrained then they are because he couldn't/didn't seize power in a straight up military coup, but the motives are the same.

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Re: Boggles

"like most of the third world dictators... the motives are the same."

What's that? A dozen 13-year-old wives, wall-to-wall shag in the presidential mansion, a gold-played Learjet, and body guards the size of Frigidaires?

You can (and most likely do) accuse Obama of any number of things, but given how much he backs down and compromises, calling him power-hungry is like accusing Justin Bieber of moonlighting as a professional wrestler.

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irrelevant

I think i am the only person thinking;- "go ahead, squabble about control of the internet, censor the crap out of it, make into the state broadcaster of yesteryear (like our waste of public money BBC), it is good in the long run"....

Why?

The sooner they wrestle control of the current hard-wired internet, the sooner an all wireless internet will come along. I am not claiming this is technically feasible now, but it wont be long before the mobile phone you have can host web data and manage complex routing etc.

If people think that any government at this conference is trying to keep the internet "free" they are mistaken - otherwise it would at least be less "secret".

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Re: irrelevant

While I can't say I want them to go ahead and squabble the control, I like what you are suggesting. However, someone would just come along and squabble the satellites and wireless protocols the same way. But still, even so, at least it would push forward another successful option for accessing the net. Shoot, by the looks of it government bodies are going to do gunk it all up anyways, might as well agree with you here and hope for the best out of it!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: irrelevant

The laws of Physics might have something to say about that. An all wireless internet is a physical impossibility, due to the required bandwidth. You could do it in some rural areas, but not in cities. People want to stream HD movies, and it doesn't take many 100Mbps connections before you run out of bandwidth.

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Location location location

I think you'll find the talks are going on in Dubai and not Doha.

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Facepalm

China: Absolute control over all internet content. Explicitly censors pornography, political opinion, etc; bans various magazines, computer games; blocks google, many news sites, etc; issues extreme jail sentences or hard labor for people who make one microblog post too many disparaging the government. Slows the entire internet to a crawl during leadership transitions to stifle potential dissent.

USA: Several lawmakers proposed a draconian copyright law, which was shot down after immense public outcry and never even came up to a vote.

Only on El Reg's forum are people have I seen people so desperate to see the United States lose, at any cost (and not to see the US lose at anything specific; just to see the US lose at anything), that they would choose explicit control of every aspect of the internet by the former rather than potential restriction of certain commercial content by the latter.

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Bingo!

That is how I fell as well, but about any country not just USA. Take the scenario above In David W.'s post and replace it with any countries name and you should feel satisfied with whatever country you replaced it with, not just the USA.

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