Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Opinion
Classified Sites

Brandon Sun - PRINT EDITION

Gov't must keep its mitts off Internet

HAMILTON — The Internet can be a cesspool. Pornography. Violence. Scams of every shape, size and colour. Extremist views and anonymous bullying. Hatred and xenophobia.

But those of us who spend a great deal of time there will be quick to point out the positive aspects of the Net far outweigh the negative. Internet access is improving the human condition in a more fundamental way than any other technology in history. This is particularly true in the developing world, where access is growing dramatically — 2011 statistics suggest connectivity is growing by as much as a half million daily, the majority thanks to mobile technology.

Proponents of democratic and political freedom are better able to share information and organize themselves to attack and defeat the walls of tyranny. And in spite of its disruptive impact on aspects of the global economy, the Internet is a job creator. According to a study by McKinsey and Company, a leading technology and consulting company, for every job eliminated by the Internet, 2.6 new ones are created.

These negative and positive attributes share one thing in common: They both flourish in part because of the nature of how the Net is governed — bottom-up, using a multi-stakeholder model that eschews rigid, hierarchical governance and control.

<t-3>But that could change if

the International Telecommunications Union has its way. Formed under United Nations auspices, the role of the ITU historically has been to deal with matters such as the harmonization of technical standards, routing messages and the best ways to facilitate broadband access. If countries including Russia, China and the United Arab Emirates get their way, that mandate could expand to an alarming degree.

At its 2012 conference, some member countries pushed for the ITU to take over governance of the Internet, replacing non-governmental players like the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. What kind of governance? In the United Arab Emirates, it is an offence punishable by three years in jail to “deride or damage” the reputation of the state or its institutions. China has repeatedly tried to ban Internet access for political reasons.

Other ITU ideas include: Regulate international mobile roaming rates and practices, allow phone companies to charge fees for “international” Internet traffic and subject cyber security and privacy to international control.

The sort of global governance would be devastating to the Internet, which is a global network of networks without borders.

So it’s a very good thing that Canada, the United States, Britain and 18 other countries walked away rather than discuss measures that would restrict free expression and speech in cyberspace. Governments need to keep their hands off the Internet.

» This column was first published in The Hamilton Spectator.

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition February 23, 2013

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

HAMILTON — The Internet can be a cesspool. Pornography. Violence. Scams of every shape, size and colour. Extremist views and anonymous bullying. Hatred and xenophobia.

But those of us who spend a great deal of time there will be quick to point out the positive aspects of the Net far outweigh the negative. Internet access is improving the human condition in a more fundamental way than any other technology in history. This is particularly true in the developing world, where access is growing dramatically — 2011 statistics suggest connectivity is growing by as much as a half million daily, the majority thanks to mobile technology.

Please subscribe to view full article.

Already subscribed? Login to view full article.

Not yet a subscriber? Click here to sign up

HAMILTON — The Internet can be a cesspool. Pornography. Violence. Scams of every shape, size and colour. Extremist views and anonymous bullying. Hatred and xenophobia.

But those of us who spend a great deal of time there will be quick to point out the positive aspects of the Net far outweigh the negative. Internet access is improving the human condition in a more fundamental way than any other technology in history. This is particularly true in the developing world, where access is growing dramatically — 2011 statistics suggest connectivity is growing by as much as a half million daily, the majority thanks to mobile technology.

Subscription required to view full article.

A subscription to the Brandon Sun Newspaper is required to view this article. Please update your user information if you are already a newspaper subscriber.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100

Social Media