Censorship

Censorship / Featured Blogs

You Paid to Join; You Can Leave Anytime

Once upon a time, around 1998-1999, three of us were hired by APEC-Tel to study "International Charging Arrangements for Internet Services". APEC-Tel is a regular meeting of Pacific-nation telecommunications ministers. The impetus of the study was their consternation that connection to the Internet was being charged (paid for) in an entirely new way. The template of the old telephone settlement scheme had been overthrown. Those wishing to connect to the Internet, which was centred in the United States, were being forced to lay lines across the Pacific, pay landing rights in the United States or Canada, and pay further to connect to the Internet at the nearest negotiated peering or transit point. more

.XXX Puzzle Pieces Start to Come Together: And the Picture is Ugly

Americans who worried about governments somehow "running" the Internet through the United Nations failed to see the Trojan Horses that were rolled into ICANN's structure in 1998: the Governmental "Advisory" Committee and the special US Government powers over ICANN. The attempt by the US Commerce Department to "recall" the delegation of .xxx to ICM Registry due to pressure from deluded right-wing groups in the US who think that it will add to pornography on the Internet is a major inflection point in the history of ICANN, and could represent the beginning of the end of its private sector/civil society based model of governance. more

A Balkanized Internet Future?

Joi Ito has an important post [also featured on CircleID] on how the internet is in danger of becoming balkanized into separate "internets". He's not the only person who's concerned. Greg Walton worries about Regime Change on the Internet. My friend Tim Wu, a law professor specializing in international trade and intellectual property, has written an article for Slate: The Filtered Future: China's bid to divide the Internet... more

The Internets

I don't know how much deep thought was involved when George Bush called the Internet "the internets" but this reflects a real risk that we face today. If you look at the traffic of many large countries with non-English languages, you will find that the overwhelming majority of the traffic stays inside the country. In countries like China and Japan where there is sufficient content in the local language and most people can't or don't like to read English this is even more so. I would say that the average individual probably doesn't really notice the Internet outside of their country or really care about content not in their native language. more

ICANN, WSIS and the Making of a Global Civil Society - Part III

For a book project I decided to extend my interview with Milton Mueller from November 2003 (Part I | Part II). Exclusively for CircleID readers, here's part III that deals with WSIS, WGIG, US-American bias and the Internet Governance Project. "...One good result of the WGIG process is that the involved international community has already moved beyond those cliches. No one is proposing that the UN control the Internet. There is growing consensus that control of the DNS root needs to be internationalized..." more

Some Notes on the .XXX Top-Level Domain

Yesterday the ICANN board discussed and approved ICANN staff to enter into negotiations with ICM Registry, Inc. for the .XXX Top Level Domain (TLD). I'm sure there will be a longer more complete presentation from ICANN later about this, but as an individual board member I thought I'd post a quick note before people got carried away with speculation based on a lack of information. more

Controlling Cyber Dissidents?

Blogging is not only a well-established element of pop culture, it has become a tremendously influential communications mechanism. As early as March 2002, an article in Wired discussed the blogging "revolution" and declared that blogging "could be to words what Napster was to music - except this time, it'll really work." more

Preventing A New World Internet Order

If anyone needs another reason why the UN should not be in charge of the internet, they need look no further than the upcoming UNESCO conference on "Freedom of Expression in Cyberspace." The United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization conference will discuss "whether universal free expression standards should be applied to the Internet and how free expression can be protected while respecting individual privacy, national laws and cultural differences." The conference is being held in preparation for the second phase of the UN's World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)." more

When Did We Give Away the Internet?

I've been following the recent news on the World Summit on the Information Society, and it's getting really bizarre. The Wired article is one example of out of the out-of-this-world coverage on the World Summit; I heard a similar spin yesterday on a radio show that often shares material with the BBC. What king or dictator or bureaucrat has signed the document giving power over the Internet to one organization or another? Did I miss the ceremony? One laughable aspect of news reportage is that the founders and leaders of ICANN always avowed, with the utmost unction, that they were not trying to make policy decisions and were simply tinkering with technical functions on the Internet.  more

ICANN, WSIS and the Making of a Global Civil Society - Part II

This is the second part of a two-part series interview by Geert Lovink with Milton Mueller discussing ICANN, World Summit on the Information Society, and the escalating debates over Internet Governance. Read the first part of this Interview here. Geert Lovink: "Confronted with Internet governance many cyber activists find themselves in a catch 22 situation. On the one hand they do not trust government bureaucrats to run the Internet, out of a justified fear that regulation through multilateral negotiations might lead to censorship and stifle innovation. On the other hand they criticize the corporate agendas of the engineering class that is anything but representative. What models should activists propose in the light of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)? There seems to be no way back to a nation state 'federalist' solution. Should they buy into the 'global civil society' solution?" more