back to article UN fight for internet control lined up in Brazil

The end of this year will see yet one more effort by some governments to grab greater control of the internet when the United Nations General Assembly meets in New York. As an appetizer to that main event, the annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) took place this week in Brazil and at the center of the debate was how …

  1. Mark 85 Silver badge

    It's the UN. It's a week in Brazil.

    So did anyone really expect them to actually do something?

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Politics at their finest

    The spirit of Minister Jim Hacker is still powerful, I see.

  3. Grahame 2


    One of my favourite scenes in HHGTTG sums up how I think most of these meetings go.....

    CHAIRMAN: Listen! I would like to call to order the five-hundred-and-seventy-third meeting of the colonization committee of the planet of Fintlewoodlewix. And furthermore -

    FORD: Oh this is futile! Five-hundred-and-seventy-three committee meetings and you haven’t even discovered fire yet!

    MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT: If you would care to look at the agenda sheet -

    GUY: Agenda rock, yes…

    FORD: Oh, go on back home or something will ya?

    MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT: …you will see that we are about to have a report from the hairdressers fire development subcommittee today.

    HAIRDRESSER: That’s me.

    FORD: Yeah well you know what they’ve done don’t you? You gave them a couple of sticks and they’ve gone and developed them in to a pair of bloody scissors!

    MARKETING GIRL: When you have been in marketing as long as I have, you’ll know that before any new product can be developed, it has to be properly researched. I mean yes, yes we’ve got to find out what people want from fire, I mean how do they relate to it, the image -

    FORD: Oh, stick it up your nose.

    MARKETING GIRL: Yes which is precisely the sort of thing we need to know, I mean do people want fire that can be fitted nasally.

    CHAIRMAN: Yes, and, and, and the wheel. What about this wheel thingy? Sounds a terribly interesting project to me.

    MARKETING GIRL: Er, yeah, well we’re having a little, er, difficulty here…

    FORD: Difficulty?! It’s the single simplest machine in the entire universe!

    MARKETING GIRL: Well alright mister wise guy, if you’re so clever you tell us what colour it should be!

    - Hitchhikers's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

    1. kmac499

      Re: HHGTTG

      And if there was ever a case for a benign genuinely disinterested dictator to manage something, We really need Douglas's 'Ruler of the Universe',

      1. jrwc

        Re: HHGTTG

        Oliver Cromwell would do.

  4. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    Believe it or not

    This is why the UN or an offshoot should run the internet. Not because they won't have their snouts in the trough, but because 50+ years of checks, balances and competing interests means that any one little piggy can't get too fat. Additionally the bureaucrats will be more likely to be too busy playing their little games of oneupmanship to actually fundamentally impact the day to day running of the internet.

    Contrast that with ICANN who are basically the FIFA of the internet who's primary mission seems to be that a couple of snouts get fat, and be actually diametrically opposed to anything that makes the internet a better place.

    Now all we have to do is overcome the loopy USian meme that makes them think the whole UN is a communist plot.

    1. Grahame 2

      Re: Believe it or not

      The inefficiency of bureaucratic armies is great and slightly amusing, right up until they get their dream wish, which is to move from a "permitted unless proscribed" to a "prohibited unless licensed" model.

      Then we are all fsck'd.

    2. itzman

      Re: Believe it or not

      Have you ever voted a member of the UN out of office?

      Oh, and there is a considerable amount of evidence that the UN, if not conceived as such, has become something akin to a communist plot.

      Fortunately it is entirely lacking in competence.

    3. boltar Silver badge

      Re: Believe it or not

      "anything that makes the internet a better place."

      You mean idiocy like non ascii DNS names? So making it to all intents and purposes impossible to type some addresses on soma machines. Icann restisted that yet were forced to do it by pressure from the international community who clearly didnt get the fact (or didnt care) that ascii is a common denominator wrt to computer keyboards worldwide.

    4. jrwc

      Re: Believe it or not

      There are no little piggies at the U.N. They are all monstrously large swine.

  5. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Do we need anyone to run the internet?

    Given that IP6 has >10^^38 address space and you can still do NAT* if you want to you can run your own internet and just connect to the bits of the 'real' one you want to.

    * I imagine the BT router would have to be a bit bigger mind.

  6. tom dial Silver badge

    Just what problem(s) would UN control of the internet be meant to solve?


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just what problem(s) would UN control of the internet be meant to solve?

      Well, there's the problem of people having too much access to outside information, which their local authoritarian regimes would prefer they not have. And most of the members of the UN are such regimes.

      1. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: Just what problem(s) would UN control of the internet be meant to solve?

        I was aware of that, but do not consider it a problem. To the extent that governments in other countries do, they should solve it as the PRC did, with their own inward facing firewalls.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Just what problem(s) would UN control of the internet be meant to solve?

          But that's expensive and leaky, and the the dangerous info is still out there. I'm sure the authoritarians would greatly prefer to just take over the whole web and shut down the parts they don't like.

  7. TeeCee Gold badge

    Such a choice.

    The problem here is that "multistakeholder" and "multilateral" actually mean the same thing. A massive committee of chair-polishing tossers arguing about trivial minutiae and never actually achieving anything. The only difference is whose arses get to polish the it makes any difference, both approaches spell decay via stagnation for the internet.

    It's a bit like being offered the choice of being boiled in oil or immersed in acid.......

    1. billse10

      Re: Such a choice.

      I was thinking People's Front / Popular Front etc

      1. Hideki

        Re: Such a choice.


  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you live in the US, the ICAN and the UN are irrelevant.

    The only thing relevant to this issue is ATT and just how badly they want to bleed you for the least service possible.

    1. asdf


      AT&T? Its not 1981. They usually aren't even the only choice even if you insist on GSM (please no LTE pedantry) phone service (which tends to be inferior anyway away from the coasts in the US). Never mind general cellular service and internet access. Unless you mean for AT&T to be a metaphor for the cable and telecom pigopoly in general I guess.

  9. harmjschoonhoven

    When conferences were in power

    The First Hague Peace Conference of 1899 banned for five years the launching of projectiles and explosives from balloons, or by new methods of similar nature. 49 countries including the United States and major European powers signed the agreement.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. asdf

      Re: When conferences were in power

      International law is more a recommendation when you have a large economy and or nuclear weapons these days.

    3. ratfox Silver badge

      Re: When conferences were in power

      If you check sources, you will see that the United States signed the treaty, but never ratified it. And UK did not sign at all.

      The same conference also resulted in a treaty against chemical weapons, which was ratified by everybody except the US. Hmm.

      1. Beachrider

        The CWC treaty

        Which went into force in 1997 was signed and ratified by the USA and the UK. Got a source for your comment?

  10. Wolfclaw

    Anybody but ICANN !

  11. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Author seems to understand the UN quite well.

    Informative article.

  12. NanoMeter

    You gotta

    fight for your right to - control the internet!

  13. Beachrider

    You CAN start your own internet...

    Technically, the UN can start its own 'Internet'. If you get enough people converting to it, there would be some interest in either ALL converting to it OR 'bridging' it to the IAB's internet. The Deep Web already functionally does this (there ARE reasons that it is tricky to be on the Deep Web, though).

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Almost wish there were some black hats to shut this popsicle stand down. Or, white hats.

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