back to article France: Let's make the internet safer. America, Russia, China: Let's go with 'no' on that

America has aligned with China and Russia to scupper a France-led initiative to improve the internet's security. However, French president Emmanuel Macron has promised to battle on. World leaders were meeting in France for the Paris Peace Forum, where French President Emmanuel Macron used the Internet Governance Forum to …

  1. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Strange bedfellows here...

    Now why would America align with Russia and China on this even though American companies are for it. Rather surprising to say the least. Same for the UK, Germany, and Australia.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Strange bedfellows here...

      American companies are not for it, but the PR angle isn't very good. Uncle Sam is speaking on their behalf.

      The British government is dysfunctional and all-consumed by Brexit. The UK won't do anything to upset the US or Russia now as those are apparently countries which the UK will do trade deals with (May said she wanted to talk to Russia again a couple of days back).

      Germany is strange though.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Strange bedfellows here...

        May said she wanted to talk to Russia again a couple of days back

        The opinion on that from both Russian Foreign Office and their press was short and to the point: "We do not deal with blackmailers". I can point you to exact references as I read both theirs, our and at least one 3rd country (usually someone in the Eu) press with my morning coffee to filter out who is lying, but can't be arsed.

        Any ideas that May may do any trade deals with Russia are in the realm of "what are you smoking?" Doubly so after the Austrian incident of last week.

        In any case, looking at who is for and who is against this is more about isolating Macron and ensuring that France pretence of superpower are put where they belong. There is no "alliance" between the opposing parties here. It is more about a coincidence of common interest.

    2. DougS Silver badge

      It wouldn't make any difference

      If the US agreed to this. We'd simply violate it and deny we were doing it, like we do with spying on allies, rendition, and all the other crap our government does that us citizens are powerless to stop (powerless because it happens whichever party is in power, so we can't easily fix this with votes)

    3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Strange bedfellows here...

      and as far as El Reg can tell, Germany, the UK and Australia are also missing,

      No, Germany (Allemagne) and the UK (Royaume-Uni de Grande-Bretagne et d’Irlande du Nord) are both there.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Strange bedfellows here...

        God damn it, I've been manipulated by fake news... again.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge
          Alien

          @Dan 55 -- Re: Strange bedfellows here...

          God damn it, I've been manipulated by fake news... again.

          No such thing as fake news. It's apparently bleed over from some alternate universes so that what's fake here is real somewhere else and vice versa.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Strange bedfellows here...

        @ Phil O'Sophical

        It's now over an hour since you posted that & el Reg still hasn't corrected it.

        1. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: Strange bedfellows here...

          I'm sure we'll see the sorry old "we insist you send us a mail for corrections because we're too cheap to employ webmonkeys who actually know how to bolt on a report form" excuse again. In 3... 2... 1...

          1. DJV Silver badge

            "we insist you send us a mail for corrections"

            Yeah, I did. They've now corrected it but haven't put up an "Updated to say..." footnote as yet.

            I hope El Reg isn't following in the path of Microsoft by making the users do all the QA testing!

            1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

              Re: "we insist you send us a mail for corrections"

              I hope El Reg isn't following in the path of Microsoft by making the users do all the QA testing! ..... DJV

              Some paths being trailed and trialed here on El Reg depend on it to improve results and fix future directions, DJV. There's a talented penetrations testing pool swimming around in sees here. 'Tis but one node though, and there be any number of other such points of call with spaces/places to comment on new views revealing further disruptive information is available for immediate presentation . ........ which is akin to Remote Augmented Virtualised AI Realisation.

              Or do you believe tomorrow is not programmed today to be a different variety/another version of yesterday?

              What have you fed into the Great Analytical Machine Environment to Provide Media with Outstanding News to Report has Hacked and Cracked Wide Open Primitive Operating Systems?

        2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Re: "It's now over an hour since you posted that & el Reg still hasn't corrected it."

          That's because we have no time to read every comment - email corrections@theregister.com if you spot anything wrong so we can get on it fast.

          Sorry about the cockup - sadly, these things happen.

          C.

      3. AndrueC Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Strange bedfellows here...

        No, Germany (Allemagne) and the UK (Royaume-Uni de Grande-Bretagne et d’Irlande du Nord) are both there.

        Reminds of the the time I ordered tickets to the French F1 Grand Prix. There was a drop down list of countries for some reason and, yes, we were under 'R'. It's fair enough in a French communique but it seemed bizarre for an international purchasing website to list the user's country in a foreign language. Especially since 'The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland' is the official name and 'UK' the official abbreviation.

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: Strange bedfellows here...

          Especially since 'The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland' is the official name and 'UK' the official abbreviation

          Business as usual in non-English speaking countries I am afraid. Iberia and Binter sites come to mind. While you can get them to do things in English, the order of options on all selection lists remains in the original Spanish. As a result UK is under R, Germany is in the beginning of the list, etc.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Strange bedfellows here...

            all selection lists remains in the original Spanish. As a result UK is under R, Germany is in the beginning of the list, etc.

            The Germans jumped the queue by bombing Guernica, then?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Strange bedfellows here...

          There was an article in a magazin about new tec stuff

          In that article there was a section about a thin flat cable you could hide under the wallpaper.

          It would be nice to hide most of the cables around the stereo and TV but there was no link even if the article stated that the company was going to ship world wide.

          I google the company name and find a site .fr and there was the cables and they looked realy good.

          But the site was i french. Not one foreign word. Just french.

          I don't know french so i didn't buy any cables

    4. mildy bemused

      Re: Strange bedfellows here...

      Professional courtesy.

      Trump - Election hacked.

      Ivanka - 30 trade marks in China since the election.

      BTW, in what has to be epic irony, one of Ivanka's trademarks if for a voting machine. Although, in China, I can see it selling.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/china-greenlights-large-batch-of-ivanka-trump-trademark-applications/2018/11/06/c085e88c-e1c8-11e8-a1c9-6afe99dddd92_story.html?utm_term=.8f07cb4da26c

    5. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Strange bedfellows here...

      Russia, China and America are still the superpowers and more or less at war with each other, so some rules for cyberwarfare would come in handy, such as a rule not to damage routers in neutral countries and not to cause to blow up nuclear reactors.

    6. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Strange bedfellows here...

      "why would America align with Russia and China on this"

      I would say there are several reasons:

      a) political grandstanding (what 'all this' really is)

      b) "agreements" that do nothing [good] in reality (but make people "feel better" for a while)

      c) A previous Paris 'agreement' in which the USA was effectively punished for being the USA [which is why we left it]

      d) Why *now*, why is Macron (and others) doing this... [I suspect it's not a very USA-friendly motive]

      e) Neither Russia, China, nor the USA really want EU telling us what to do

      f) It's likely to be a form of CENSORSHIP, and even Russia and China wouldn't want THAT [unless it's THEIR censorship, in which case it's "ok"]

      g) globalism, in general. After Macron's recent posturing AT THE 100th ARMISTICE MEMORIAL [an event that should be DEVOID of politics], I'd say that 'globalism' is a big motivator for this.

      [I think it's pretty clear that the USA is moving away from globalism. I'd guess that China and Russia don't want it, either].

      The internet basically exists because pretty much everybody is agreeing on "free information flow". Once you start whittling that down, it'll become the Facebook/Google/Microsoft network because THESE 3 "big boy" players have PURCHASED the most politicians to make it so.

      Yeah, no WONDER "they" want it!

      Then again, it's ALSO possible that we were "excluded" from the club because THEY! DO! NOT! WANT! US! IN! IT!!! "American RIFF RAFF" or something equally smug...

  2. Didier Trosset

    I always feel very uncomfortable when big government, big banks, and big corporations agree on anything …

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      So is it significant that companies like Amazon and HSBC are missing, along with India and Russia?

  3. Jonathan Richards 1
    Go

    @ M. Trosser

    There ought to be things that big governments can agree on to everyone's advantage. I can aspire to a time when launching a spearphishing attack, or targeted malware, will be just as unacceptable as launching a chemical weapons attack. Oh, hold on a minute...

  4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    The Likelihood of Macron's Macro Meanderings becoming a Reality for CyberSpace Flight Crew

    A great deal less than a snowball's chance in hell is surely assured ..... for the abiding weakest links sit between keyboards and chair.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: The Likelihood of Macron's Macro Meanderings becoming a Reality for CyberSpace Flight Crew

      Coherent, to the point and valid post from a amanfromMars 1? There are green flashes in the sky, run for the hills.

      1. James 51 Silver badge
        Terminator

        Re: The Likelihood of Macron's Macro Meanderings becoming a Reality for CyberSpace Flight Crew

        That's twice in two days. Stock up on canned goods.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Likelihood of Macron's Macro Meanderings becoming a Reality for CyberSpace Flight Crew

        amanfromMars 1Is the perfect troll. Part of that is ever once in while posting as a normal person to throw us off track, or scare us

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: The Likelihood of Macron's Macro Meanderings becoming a Reality for CyberSpace Flight Crew

          amanfromMars 1Is the perfect troll.

          I'm pretty sure amanfromMars1 pre-dates Internet trolls. He/she/it/xe falls somewhere between a prose-poetry generator and certifiable (but usually of the gently amusing variety).

      3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: The Likelihood of Macron's Macro Meanderings becoming a Reality for CyberSpace Flight Crew

        There are green flashes in the sky, run for the hills.

        Don't look at them, unless you fancy being stung by a triffid!

  5. Lord Schwindratzheim

    UK and Germany are on the list

    You just need to know French:

    Allemagne et Royaume Uni de Grande Bretagne et

    d’Irlande du Nord...

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "Macron said he will keep trying to bring the US back on board."

    That's wierd. The US is not on board and, given that this is the first announcement of this initiative, it never has been on board.

    So it's less a case of bringing it back than a case of getting it on board in the first place.

    Unless, of course, during the discussions prior to this announcement, the US was on board, but then the orange turnip pulled the other one and changed what passes for his mind.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Macron said he will keep trying to bring the US back on board."

      Don't bother... at least while El Trumpo is POTUS. He thinks he can walk over every treaty and country in the world. I'm sure he watches "Dr Strangelove" at least once a day (when he's not playing golf that is...)

      His mantra seems to be "We don't make treaties, I will tell you what to do and you will do it or else!"

      Just ask him to show his Tax Returns!!!

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: "Macron said he will keep trying to bring the US back on board."

        I'm sure he watches "Dr Strangelove" at least once a day

        This leads me to wondering which character he most associates with? I'm torn between General Ripper and Major Kong. Not, presumably, President Muffley...

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: "Macron said he will keep trying to bring the US back on board."

        "Just ask him to show his Tax Returns!!!"

        [why did you have to mention Trump's tax returns anyway?]

        The IRS has already seen them, and apparently audits the hell out of him every year. If there were mistakes or any kind of deceit, law-breaking, or even simple dishonesty on them, knowing the IRS, they'd have punished him for it already. You KNOW they LIVE for this sort of thing! "Hey I just busted 'so and so' the billionaire! woot!"

        /me spits out fishook, snips additional commentary, avoiding political side-discussion.

  7. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Google translate anyone?

      Google translate anyone?

      Nah, DeepL manages to get "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" right.

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Google translate anyone?

        I much prefer Deepl these days - sometimes Google Translate even misses out negation in French, completely reversing the sense of whatever it's supposed to be translating.

  8. scrubber
    Paris Hilton

    Government Doublespeak

    Given how these things tend to be named I'm going to simply assume that "Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace" is actually a way for governments to increase their ability to spy on what people do online and outlaw encryption.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Government Doublespeak

      @scrubber

      .....more than doublespeak.....pure hypocrisy through and through.

      I'm sure the East German government told its citizens that "the STASI is keeping you safe"...in exactly the same way we hear people like Jeremy Fleming and Cressida Dick saying the same things.

      https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/oct/01/police-super-database-prompts-liberty-warning-on-privacy

  9. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
    WTF?

    "well as vendor heavyweights such as ... Unisys"

    UNISYS is (present term) a vendor heavyweight?

    1. Nick L

      I can only think this is a test, as Blackadder used when mentioning the great Universities of Oxford, Hull and Cambridge...

  10. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    World leaders were meeting in France for the Paris Peace Forum, where French President Emmanuel Macron used the Internet Governance Forum

    So it's forums (or fora) all the way down.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One of the biggest lobbyists in France is Vivendi, I'll leave you to join the dots.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "And I also have a bridge to sell you..."

    Any government mouthpiece who says they want to censor, sorry "make the internet safer" should be treated with great suspicion. Especially when it's the current incumbent of the position that seems to be used whenever the Germans want to suggest something to the EU or the world at large but don't want to get the blame themselves.

    Anyone who thinks letting the EU have a say in how the internet is controlled is a good idea, especially within a few days of the same person suggesting the creation of a Central European Army controlled by Brussels* and not by any of the nations supplying the troops and equipment, should be required to go and read a history of Europe in the Twentieth Century and then justify exactly why they want this to go ahead.

    *or wherever the EU happens to be run from at the time.

    If nothing else raises alarm bells, consider the 'function creep' between the Common Market of the early 70s and the current European "Union" - and what having a Central European Army might really lead to.

    Even if Macron's intentions really are as pure as the driven snow, never forget Hitler was elected...

    1. Potemkine! Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: "And I also have a bridge to sell you..."

      never forget Hitler was elected

      Technically, he wasn't. His party was the first one in number of elected members but didn't had the majority (33% only). Without the support of the conservatives and the refusal of the Communists to join with the Socialists, he wouldn't have been chosen as Chancelor by the German President.

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: "And I also have a bridge to sell you..."

      Anyone who thinks letting the EU have a say in how the internet is controlled is a good idea, especially within a few days of the same person suggesting the creation of a Central European Army controlled by Brussels

      Do you have a citation for Macron suggeting this? I'm not being funny about it, but this doesn't ring true. Not least because any such motion would require unanimous assent from all 28* member nations, and any national leader proposing it is likley to find themselves in prompt receipt of 27 vetoes.

      See history for the trouble they had getting approval for the Maastricht treaty, which, for all the bickering was not much more than a broad agreement that everyone should agree. Whenever anyone brings up an 'EU army', it usually has a very strong smell about it.

      *28 for now at least.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Loyal Commentator, Re: "And I also have a bridge to sell you..."

        "Do you have a citation for Macron suggeting this? I'm not being funny about it, but this doesn't ring true. Not least because any such motion would require unanimous assent from all 28* member nations, and any national leader proposing it is likley to find themselves in prompt receipt of 27 vetoes."

        Why this would require all EU nations to agree I don't quite understand, since there would be little to stop some deciding to join their command and control elements into a partial Central European Army, and I'm pretty sure most of the reluctant countries would soon agree when the nascent CEA arrives on their doorstep.

        As for citations, it was on the front page of one the UK broadsheets last week, and in today's Metro freebie paper, page 8, the article headline is "Merkel backs Macron over Europe army" - it's sandwiched between a BT advert and a Brexit story so almost guaranteed to be overlooked by most people. The article quotes the German Chancellor as saying "The times when we could rely on others are over. We have to work on one day creating a real, true, European army. This is really important if we look at developments of the past years". I cannot help wondering exactly how many "past years" she means - back to the middle of the 20th Century? Or just the last few, when those damn upstarts in Greece and Catalonia and a few other parts of Europe have dared to question the diktats handed out by Brussels and their underlings - or even just the last two, since the UK's Referendum that has lead to Brexit.

        Given that we have only just commemorated 100 years since the guns fell silent at the end of World War 1, the announcement of this "new idea" should be making people question exactly why we now need this Army.

  13. Sil

    Apple is one of the few American tech behemoths that didn't support the call.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      Fruit Salad

      You mean, Apple is with Orange?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Freedom or Saftey

    You can have a safer internet, but expect your freedoms to be curtailed. If you keep the internet free and open, you will have bad actors. Do you lock your doors EVERY time you go in or out, can your friends visit without a strip search?

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Freedom or Saftey

      Depends on the friend.

  15. Potemkine! Silver badge
    Flame

    Trumpy the fascist Klown aligning himself with China and Russia? No kidding...

  16. tyrfing

    "Applying international law to cyberspace, with a particular focus on humanitarian and human rights law."

    Means not posting anything the followers of the RoP don't like.

  17. John Savard Silver badge

    Unfair!

    Your headline is so unfair! Russia and China are going with no on making the Internet safer. America is going with no on not making the Internet safer, but saying we did.

  18. delete

    Silly Europeans

    You can't protect freedom of speech if you don't even know what it means.

  19. The Nazz Silver badge

    Blair lite, and hopefully less harmful?

    For some reason, maybe being elected "by an avalanche of voters" on a platform of "Change", supposedly for the good, (actually anything but) he makes me think of Blair. Maybe it's the same arrogance that he, and he alone, knows best, and what's best for us all.

    Perhaps he should simply start with making France a safer place? Move to London and become Mayor here, maybe?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another club the UK joins

    but won't play by the clubs rules...

  21. Slx

    I'd be all for improving security and having some kind of bar on cyber attacks carried out by states, but I would assume that would be utterly unenforcible.

    However, what I would be concerned about is a move like this could simply be a backdoor to censorship, filtering, restricting encryption and more top-down control. Some very well meaning political efforts to make the internet a safer place have tended to go that way.

    They also usually tend to think of the internet as if it were the PSTN - a radial network with nodes and lines all managed from the centre and completely fail to comprehend how IP traffic flows and how the internet is a giant organic mesh with very little ability to control anything or why encryption is utterly necessary to allow any of that to work safely.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Because Australia....

    ....always follows America around like the cat in "chow hound"

    "What?

    No gravy?"

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0043405/reviews

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