Is the UN Planning to Regulate the Internet? WCITLeaks Aims to Find Out.

At the end of the year, nations belonging to the United Nations International Telecommunications Union (ITU) are scheduled meet in Dubai to finalize negotiations over rules to regulate and control the Internet.

The goal of the World Conference on International Communications (WCIT), at least for countries like Russia and China, is to establish a firmer government hand on the world's biggest information network: Russian President (then Prime Minister) Vladimir Putin said last summer that he wants the UN to establish "international control over the Internet using the monitoring and supervisory capabilities of the International Telecommunication Union."

Talks over exactly what the agreement will say are already underway, and a number of proposals have already been put forth. There's real reason to worry about what will come of these talks and the agreement they're intended to generate. Vincent Cerf, who helped develop the Net as we know it and now serves Google's chief Internet evangelist, warned last month that ITU "proposals raise the prospect of policies that enable government controls but greatly diminish the ‘permissionless innovation’ that underlies extraordinary Internet-based economic growth to say nothing of trampling human rights.”

The problem is that we don't know what, exactly, the ITU plans to do. That's because so far, the proposals have not been collected and posted publicly: Access is available only though a password-protected ITU website. 

Jerry Brito and Eli Dourado, both tech policy research fellows with the The Mercatus Center at George Mason University, hope they've found a way to solve this problem. They've created a website called WCITLeaks.org that allows officials with access to ITU proposals to anonymously upload drafts. 

There's nothing illegal about making the documents public. They're not classified or otherwise protected by law. But transparency isn't really a priority for the ITU. As Brito writes in a blog post announcing the new site, "publishing these documents is probably not considered polite in the rarefied diplomatic circles of the ITU. So, I thought we’d give folks with access to the documents a helping hand." Hopefully, that's all it will take. 

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  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    If it involves persecuting and attempting to eliminate Sandra Bullock, then I'm all for it.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    That's cold Scruffy. She's a good actress, and I think she's pretty, too.

  • Hugh Akston||

    You're half right.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Which half?

  • Hugh Akston||

    She's purty, but I'm not convinced she can act. 'Course the only movie I definitely remember her in are Speed and Demolition Man.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't kick her out of bed for eating crackers, but I got tired of the "feel sorry for Sandra because she married an obvious jackass" stuff. But I'm probably just being an obvious jackass.

  • Pip||

    We hate most in others...

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Yeah, yeah...

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    I saw her ex-husband, the obvious jackass, last weekend here in LBC. He is an ugly man/ has an ugly soul.

  • Pip||

    Where is LBC?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    So much drama in the LBC

  • Tulpa the White||

    Long Beach, California if my Sublime memory serves.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Long Beach, California.

  • Mo' $parky||

    Ah The Net. One of the few movies that even Hackers was more realistic.

  • RBS||

    "Two months ago, I saw a provocative movie on cable TV. It was called The Net, with that girl from the bus. I did a little reading, and I realize, it wasn't that farfetched".

  • John Thacker||

    I couldn't remember if this was a Seinfeld quote, a parody of Tom Friedman quote, or an actual Tom Friedman quote.

  • Tonio||

    All actual Tom Friedman quotes are self-parodies, just not deliberately so.

  • ||

    I am ashamed to say I saw The Net in the theater. Suffice it to say it only reinforced my growing urge to not go to the theater any more.

  • Tulpa the White||

    So you only saw Con Air on the small screen. That explains why you didn't like it.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I'm sure the UN will be every bit as successful at controlling the internet as they were at keeping peace in the Balkans, and intervening in Rwanda, and sanctionizing Iraq/Syria/Iran etc.

  • ||

    Is that the girl from the bus?

  • sarcasmic||

    'permissionless innovation'

    People doing things without first asking permission from some idiot bureaucrat?

    The horror!

  • Pip||

    I though Bullock was good in Two Weeks Notice. IMDB rates it at 5.8, but even so, I enjoyed it.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0313737/

  • ||

    I liked her in Gun Shy. That is all.

  • Pip||

    OT (found while deleting old files):

    Anagram: President Barack Hussein Obama = A Democrat speaks inane rubbish

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Hey, all you UN fans...

    ...feel stoopid now?

  • Tonio||

    Of course they don't. They'll manage to convince themselves it's for the best.

  • Killazontherun||

    The UN has fans?

  • Tonio||

    Yes, KOTR, it does. You must not know many liberals.

  • ||

    Suderman, V. Putin is currently President of The Russian Federation. Shouldn't it read then-Prime Minister?

  • Peter Suderman||

    Good catch! Thanks. Fixed!

  • ||

    You're welcome, Peter. Keep up the good work!

  • 0x90||

    Vint Cerf, perennial stopped clock and Father of the Intertoobz, on Net Neutrality and why you should vote for Barrack [sic] Obama (circa 2008).

  • 0x90||

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