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2012 WCIT Meeting Beginning of Long Internet Cold War Between Authoritarians and Liberal Democrats

In his commentary The Internet Yalta, Alexander Klimburg, Fellow and Senior Adviser at the Austrian Institute for International Affairs, argues that the December 2012 meeting of the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) may be the digital equivalent of the February 1945 meeting of the Allied powers in Yalta: the beginning of a long Internet Cold War between authoritarian and liberal-democratic countries. Klimburg contends that the battles over Internet governance that surfaced at WCIT are not just about competing visions of the Internet: They are also about two different visions of political power.

"At the Yalta Conference, Western democracies made two fundamental mistakes: first, they allowed naive statements of wishful thinking to supplant actual realities on the ground. Second, they overlooked the risk inherent in permitting ambiguous definitions. Both of these mistakes may have been repeated at WCIT."

Related topics: Internet Governance

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