‘Father of the Internet’ warns Web freedom is under attack
“Father of the Internet” Vint Cerf recently warned that Internet freedom is under threat from governments around the world, including the United States.
Cerf, a computer scientist who was instrumental in the Internet’s creation and is now employed by Google as its “Internet evangelist,” said officials in the United States, United Kingdom and Europe are using intellectual property and cybersecurity issues “as an excuse for constraining what we can and can’t do on the ‘net.
“Political structures … are often scared by the possibility that the general public might figure out that they don’t want them in power,” he said.
He sounded the alarm about the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), arguing the group is poised to assume the role of global Internet cop.
Cerf said the ITU is likely to try and lock in mandatory intellectual property protections as a backdoor for easy Web surveillance. Even good-faith efforts at Internet policymaking should be viewed with skepticism, Cerf said, because balancing freedom and security “isn’t something that government alone is going to figure out.” He criticised the Cybersecurity and Intelligence Protection Act (CISPA) legislation passed by the House to encourage companies to share information about cyber threats with the government, because it lacks “adequate constraints” on how the information is used. Cerf said he has the “optimistic belief” that attempts by hostile governments to restrict access will be circumvented by resourceful engineers around the world. Cerf also urged vigilante groups such as Anonymous to stop using cyberattacks as a means of activism, saying the hackings are counterproductive.
“I don’t think lawlessness is our friend,” he said.Ultimately, there is a legitimate role for law enforcement on the Web, he said, adding that “it would be bad for us as a community to say … that all the good things outweigh the bad.” “That’s not a credible position to take,” he said. Cerf said activists and regulators alike harm themselves by using terms like “cybercrime” because they suggest that “every bad thing that happens on the Internet is a crime.” “Some are just bugs,” Cerf said, while suggesting a better goal for policymakers should be “cybersafety.”
These are my favorite lines, and are what i beleive as well.
I haven’t gotten to the point of believing that governance work is a complete waste of time yet, but have decided it is time to get my programing skills out of mothballs and get back up to speed. It is not easy talk about freedom, safety, neutrality, cybercrime, IP pirate, CISPA…with different interest… personal interest, national interest… business interest of the stakeholders …
Anything that are not following somebody interest will be bad and sometimes considered as a crime … cybercrime…
“Either you with me or against me…..” Sound familiar? This is the challenge for the future global dialog, not as easy during the period of cerf when he started the Internet everybody has one goal.
Increasingly Governments are moving towards control of Internet Freedom. Freedom of expression, although debatable, is a fundamental right and is often the center piece of a democracy. However, Governments are sometimes preoccupied with finding ways to protect national security and human rights pertaining to Internet usage. I believe that the mechanisms for enforcement of copyright laws or illegal content laws through DNS filtering is disproportionate and is too restrictive. In total, DNS filtering undermines security on the Internet and may block legitimate content from the Internet. Therefore, this negatively impacts freedom of expression.
It is important to note that the blocking of domain names does not actually remove illegal content off the Internet. As a result, there is need for various human right agencies within the government, private sector, academia and civil society to negotiate the terms and conditions for Internet Regulation. However, I believe that these agencies should have a basic understanding of the Internet before negotiating Internet regulation. Moreover, Governments need to realize that harsh regulations of the Internet may impede innovation through various ICT tools.
Recently we have seen a few examples pertaining to Internet Freedom see below:
“Iran’s telecommunications ministry has barred local banks, insurance firms and telephone operators from using foreign-sourced emails to communicate with clients, a specialist weekly said on Saturday. “The telecommunications minister has ordered the use of domain names ending with .ir” belonging to Iran, Asr Ertebatat reported.” See http://j.mp/KDVUWK
In addition, we see that India is pushing for the creation of a forum called ‘Committee for Internet Related Policies’ (CIRP) to develop internet policies, oversee all internet standards bodies and policy organizations, negotiate internet-related treaties and sit in judgment when internet-related disputes come up. The catch is that India’s formal proposal is for CIRP to be funded by the U.N., run by staff from the U.N.’s Conference on Trade and Development arm and report directly to the U.N. General Assembly, which means it will be entirely controlled by the U.N.’s member states. See:
We can effect change let us bring these issues to the fore at the various (ICANN, IGF, WSIS, IETF etc) Internet Governance meetings.
I have posted vid of this at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwtTUMXpxLk&list=PL18388B00C798AEFC