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“Another BRIC in the Wall”; 2012- The Year of Internet Regulation? February 27, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in InfoSec & Privacy, Laws and Leglslation.
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The Internet started life in the 1960s as a project funded by DARPA known as ARPANET. ARPANET was decommissioned in 1990 and in 1995 NSFNET was decommissioned opening the network for commercial use.  The Internet was officially born.  The impact of the Internet on science, culture, and politics cannot be overstated.  The Internet is a wordwide network of interconnected computers.  It operates without a centralized governing body although ICANN and the DNS root changes are primarily governed by the US.  The fact that the Internet allows for the free flow of information and that it is not ‘regulated’ in a conventional sense is what makes the Internet such powerful tool for science, revolution, politics, medicine, education and about every other aspect you can image, as well as such a threat to some.

On December 8th, 2011 FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell stated: The communications public policy effort that may affect all of us the most in 2012, however, will take place far from our shores. As we sit here today, scores of countries, including China, Russia and India (*the RIC in BRIC), are pushing hard for international regulation of Internet governance.  While we have been focused on other important matters here in the U.S., the effort to radically reverse the long-standing international consensus to keep governments from regulating core functions of the Internet’s ecosystem has been gaining momentum. The reach, scope and seriousness of this effort are nothing short of massive. But don’t take my word for it. As Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said last June, “the goal of this effort is to establish “international control over the Internet using the monitoring and supervisory capabilities of the International Telecommunications Union.”

The International Telecommunications Union, a branch of the United Nations, is meeting now and through 2012 to discuss, among other things, the regulation of the Internet.   As stated in Foxnews, McDowell: “…accused the so-called “BRIC” countries – Brazil, Russia, India, and China– and their allies among developing nations of trying to seize the moment to strengthen international regulation of the Internet. Such a development, McDowell claimed, would imperil the Web’s historic role as an outlet for free expression and economic growth.”

It goes without saying that an Internet that is regulated and restricted will stifle growth and value of such a medium.  Additionally, one can imagine that individuals’ privacy that is currently being threatened will come under further assault.  One can imagine an Internet that is no longer free, or open.  While it may be easier to prevent some forms of crimes and other ‘less appetizing’ aspects of the Internet, individual rights will also be threatened.

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