back to article Steelie Neelie: ICANN think of more 'credible' rules for internet. (Cough *NSA* cough)

EU vice president Neelie Kroes wants the US to slacken its grip on how the internet is managed in the aftermath of revelations about mass surveillance of innocent citizens. She said today that reform was needed to make internet governance more inclusive, transparent and accountable around the globe, with particular emphasis …


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  1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Old Neelie is good for a laugh!

    Kroes had earlier tweeted: "Internet doesn't need censorship / top-down oversight; startups don't need red tape. Need clear rules, level playing field, global balance."

    So none of the EU countries do any form of electronic surveillance? Never heard of Frenchelon, just for starters? And the idea of the EU reducing red tape really is sheer fantasy! What Kroes really wants is more EU control so her chums can get their snouts in the trough and nothing more.

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Re: Old Neelie is good for a laugh!

      There, there Matt

      You go and have a nice lie down and leave the rest of us to read the article properly and come to more logical conclusions.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        Re: DJV Re: Old Neelie is good for a laugh!

        ".....leave the rest of us to read the article properly and come to more logical conclusions." I have to point out you seem incapable of sharing your conclusions, did you manage to make any or were you too busy looking for possible "anti-EU posts" to downvote?

        1. Squander Two

          Re: DJV Old Neelie is good for a laugh!

          Look, I oppose the EU in principle on the grounds of democracy, but that doesn't mean that every single person who ever works for them is a totalitarian bureaucratic bastard. It's a shame that Neelie isn't elected, but, if she were, I'd vote for her.

    2. tom dial Silver badge

      Re: Old Neelie is good for a laugh!

      At ~1800 UTC, 11 downvotes from those immune to truth and rational thought.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Old Neelie is good for a laugh!

        downvotes from those immune to truth and rational thought

        Have we got ourselves a new Eadon?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Old Neelie is good for a laugh!

          European Parliament is one of the most democratic institutions in the modern world. PR is far more democratic then FPP and every European Citizen can vote, even if all they want to do is waste their vote on a bunch of idiots like ukip who don't even bother turning up or perform as part of a sensible group.

          European Commission is not.

          1. Squander Two

            Re: Old Neelie is good for a laugh!

            > European Parliament is one of the most democratic institutions in the modern world.

            Maybe, but it's not a parliament; it's an assembly. Parliaments have legislative power; the EU "Parliament" exists in a merely advisory capacity to the Commission. So, while the body may be democratic, it's subordinate to an undemocratic body. Which makes the democracy a fig-leaf.

    3. foo_bar_baz

      Matt Bryant is good for a laugh!

      Are you opposed to any of her opinions? Do you want more red tape, more censorship, unclear rules and global imbalance? We have an official stating on record that these are desirable goals, now we can measure EU performance against these standards. Let's have an official from the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave repeat these same statements.

      The fact that EU countries do electronic surveillance is irrelevant. There's surveillance and then there's subverting key internet infrastructure. "The others also like to spy" is not a excuse for these abuses.

      1. teebie

        Re: Matt Bryant is good for a laugh!

        It's VDay tomorrow, I could do with some red tape

      2. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        Re: foo_bar_baz Re: Matt Bryant is good for a laugh!

        "Are you opposed to any of her opinions?...." I do not want more red tape, more censorship (BTW, exactly where is the current censorship?), and that was a joke about "subverting" the Internet, wasn't it? Despite TBL liking to take credit for the Internet at every opportunity, it was the US that made it happen. What I am opposed to the hypocrsiy she is peddling. Adding bureacracy by involving the EU would be a guaranteed way of not only breaking the Internet by letting EU politicians make technical decisions based on which PIIG needs an economic boost, but also quadrupling any red tape involved. Anyone who has worked with any EU or EC body (and I've worked with a few) knows there are massive elements of those bureaucracies that generate red tape as a means of justifying their own existance. The EU trying to hijack control of the Internet under a pretence of "clean" government is like a sweetshop owner telling you eating more chocolate will stop dental cavities.

  2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Excuse me but is this Torygraph?

    unelected digital czar

    What's with the sensationalism? All the members of the European Commission are bureaucrats, though they're technically more accountable than say members of the British civil service and are as elected as say the Chancellor of the Exchequer is to his position. They are chosen, albeit in a bout of severe horse-trading by the elected heads of government of the member states and approved by the elected members of the European parliament. The process is due to change for the next commission with the parliament getting more power over individual members.

    Not that I'm holding out my breath for a significantly better commission. Only if we can reduce the horse-trading by having fewer ex-politicians and more proper technocrats will we really get anywhere.

    But, hey, facts are boring, right?

    1. frank ly

      Re: Excuse me but is this Torygraph?

      " They are chosen, .... by the elected heads of government ....."

      Yep, facts are boring; but true in this case.

    2. Squander Two

      Re: Excuse me but is this Torygraph?

      > as elected as say the Chancellor of the Exchequer is to his position.

      This is half disingenuous and half untrue. The Chancellor holds two positions: Chancellor and MP. As an MP, he can be gotten rid of by the electorate, which no EC Commissioner can. As Chancellor, he cannot directly be ousted by the electorate, but, usually, he was either Chancellor or Shadow Chancellor during the last General Election -- and, if he wasn't, he will be for the next one -- when a large part of the electorate's reason for voting boils down to which pair of loons they prefer as PM and Chancellor. And no EC Commissioner faces that level of democracy either.

      I would agree, however, that there is not as much of a gap between the levels of democratic accountability of the Chancellor and a Commissioner as there should be, but the solution to that is not to conclude that the EU must therefore be perfectly democratic enough but to increase the democratic accountability of the British Cabinet. (It used to be the case that, when an MP was appointed to the Cabinet, they had to immediately stand for reelection in their constituency, which gave voters the option of saying that a politician was a good MP but not Government material. Bringing back this rule would solve a lot of Britain's problems, in my opinion.)

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Excuse me but is this Torygraph?

        electorate's reason for voting boils down to which pair of loons they prefer as PM and Chancellor.

        The constituency system actually is not about that at all. Maybe if the rule suggested were brought back in it would mean MPs standing up more for their voters rather than their party.

        That's a side issue. On democratic accountability the EC remains considerably more so than many of the appointed members of cabinet (is Warsi still in it?) and especially of th QUANGOs governments love to circumvent parliamentary accountability. Hand's length has its place, of course but since the 1980s the QUANGO has been the vehicle of choice for enforcing, or not as in the case of most of the regulators (OFGEN, OFCOM, OFGAS, …), the laws passed by parliament.

        1. Squander Two

          Re: Excuse me but is this Torygraph?

          I agree absolutely about quangos and the other means the British Government has developed to bypass democracy of late (fake charities are the worst, I think), but the fact remains that the Chancellor is subject to election and no EC Commissioner is. You keep claiming that an election and a total lack of an election are basically the same amount of democracy. They're not.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lovely, subtle understatement

    the NSA/PRISM scandal that was leaked by master squealer Edward Snowden had "called into question the stewardship of the US when it comes to internet governance."

    Oeeeerr, subtle :)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Internet should be open to all without restriction or limit on content.

    If you don't like a topic or activity, then don't go to that site.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If you don't like a topic or activity, then don't go to that site.

      As we know from online ads (to say the least of it), sometimes the unwanted content comes to you.

      1. Steve Knox

        Re: If you don't like a topic or activity, then don't go to that site.

        1. Stop arguing with yourself.

        2. There are numerous ways to avoid seeing online ads, not the least of which is not visiting sites which use them.

      2. Keep Refrigerated
        Big Brother

        Re: If you don't like a topic or activity, then don't go to that site.

        On internet, Ad sees you!

    2. Squander Two

      "If you don't like a topic or activity, then don't go to that site."

      I don't like raping children. So, if I personally don't go to child porn sites, problem solved, right?

    3. cortland
      Big Brother

      Right. Now look at all the things governments around the world do NOT want us putting on the 'net -- even abroad. Better the devil we know, no?

  5. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Re: Steve Knox

    "....There are numerous ways to avoid seeing online ads, not the least of which is not visiting sites which use them." Just for fun, Steve, how are you supposed to know if a site uses online ads before you go and actually view the site?

  6. Fred Goldstein

    Political posturing not based in reality

    Whatever the NSA does has nothing whatsoever to do with ICANN. Both are based in the US, but so are a lot of other things, like say the Walt Disney studios, McDonalds, and Ford Motor. ICANN doesn't bug your hamburgers, and if they did, Mickey D's headquarters' being in Illinois wouldn't matter.

    ICANN is basically self-funding, and is merely a consultancy. It recommends registries. You can set your DNS to whatever you want, though. ICANN has no authority to stop you, or to stop someone from setting up an alternative (as was done by Louis Pouzin, the French inventor of internetworking). The ITU deals through governments; ICANN "authority" is whatever users make of it.

    1. PyLETS

      self serving ICANN

      The problem is that its pseudo-accountable self-funding structure results in ICANN becoming self-serving as well. Not that you need a very large organisation to manage the equivalent in the DNS space of deciding which international dialling prefixes the ITU manage uncontentiously in the telephony space.

      Unfortunately a self-serving organisation isn't going to stop there. Flogging off .porn and .cocacola at $185,000 a pop resulting in pollution of the DNS top level domain space comes next.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Ugh, for a moment there I thought this was an article about Edwina Curry.

    Does anyone else think that the picture looks like Edwina Curry?

  8. tom dial Silver badge


    Someone should explain how any of Ms. Kroes's suggestions would prevent anything NSA or similar SIGINT agencies have been seen doing, accused of doing, or might possibly be doing or able to do that we don't know of.

    Seems like a power grab attempt.

    1. Old Handle

      Re: Nonsequitur?

      It's not wholly unrelated, the NSA does apparently enjoy injecting malware by means of DNS hijacking. Would this be any harder if the US were less involved in DNS? It's difficult to say, but it's not unreasonable to think it might be.

  9. Daniel von Asmuth
    Black Helicopters

    What's the difference? The Dutch AIVD taps phones too and sends your data to the NSA.

  10. Mark 85

    What a conumdrum...

    The US is bad because of NSA. Then again, all the other governments are pulling the same crap. So are they bad?

    The UN is a total waste of space and oxygen. The only good thing the do is seem to spend a lot of time arguing over the "official UN snack food" instead of actually doing anything.

    EU..EC...? Are they any better?

    So who is left to run the Internet? Russia? China? Maybe the Cayman Islands?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sheer poppycock

    In essence the NSA (as well as advertisers, other national intelligence services, and most of the free developed world) has simply piggybacked off the open internet for their own purposes (national security or bureaucratic preservation, in the case of the NSA). Some of this piggybacking produces good or even splendid results, sometimes it doesn't. But so far, I'd say the good side of the scoreboard is leading.

    Condoning certain types of internet behavior and the methods used (i.e. perceived mass surveillance or targeted advertising), is a matter of individual choice and opinion. Hopefully the sum of these individual choices and opinions will eventually translate into good, rational societal behaviors. And the funny thing is, we can actually influence these behaviors in a variety of ways, because there is an open internet.

    The best we can hope for from any government (this includes the US and the EU) is that they will practice as much restraint as possible. The natural inclination of the politician is to control, tax and supervise their electorates and push benefits toward the elites that keep them in power (and their own power bases).

    Regarding the internet, we can individually and collectively encourage or discourage that sort of behavior by taking responsibility for our own actions and setting the example. Voting for people who understand the tech and the issues will also help.

    I don't know about you, but I long for the day when most (if not all) local and national issues can be transparently voted for, debated and audited online and most of the overhead and waste foisted on us by obsolete, corrupt or entrenched power bases is finally slimmed down or made irrelevant. The last thing we need now is an internet that has fragmented along national or supra national lines. But how else can our elected (and unelected) representatives make themselves look useful if they don't make noise? Pork doesn't grow on trees, you know.

    If you don't like being potentially snooped on, then encrypt your email, encrypt your browser traffic and think twice about everything else you broadcast into the open. Learn about and support privacy initiatives and guidelines.

    If anything, we need less control over the internet, not more. And we can begin by taking control through our individual actions. Don't hope that some bureaucrats will come riding to the "rescue".

    1. cortland

      Re: Sheer poppycock

      Upvoted because government poking about needs reasoned and sensible discussion. What technology makes possible, it makes inevitabe; SCREWDRIVERS are legally a burglary tool (over here, anyway), due to the number of doors and windows pried open with them. The Internet? What would we expect when we put notes on the wall by the church door? Oh, the Sexton will take them inside? OK -- and the Bishop isn't reading them? Bet?

  12. Dave Bell

    If the NSA, GCHQ, and their equivalents were any good, we'd know who the crooks are who, not ten minutes ago, were trying to persuade me that they worked for Microsoft and my computer had reported that I had a malware infection.

    It's all in the metadata they collect.

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