Internet oversight: Should the principles of the U.S. First Amendment be proclaimed throughout the world?

8 Dec

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: The tag line for the past several years has been let’s “celebrate diversity.” Really. Are all cultural practices to be celebrated? Moi knows that some hyperventilate over the concept because the inevitable question is who makes those decisions. Isn’t it  really like the Justice Potter Stewart quote, “I know it when I see it….” One has to wonder when despots assemble for a ball.

Matt Smith and Joseph Menn of Reuters Canada are reporting in the article, Russia, China alliance wants greater govt voice in Internet oversight:

* Proposal would wrest control of Web addresses from US body

* Egypt says included on multi-country proposal by mistake

* Talks on new telco treaty appear deadlocked

* U.S., allies oppose extension of treaty to Internet

DUBAI, Dec 9 (Reuters) – A Russia-led proposal calling for sweeping new governmental powers to regulate cyberspace could enable countries to block some Web locations and wrest control of allotting Internet addresses from a U.S.-based body.

The proposal, co-signed by Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates, added to fears in some Western countries of a stalemate midway through a 12-day conference in Dubai to rewrite a longstanding treaty on international communications.

Russia and its supporters, which include many African and Arab states, seek to formally extend the remit of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to govern many aspects of the Internet.

The United States, Europe and other allies including Australia and Japan insist the treaty should continue to apply only to traditional telecommunications such as international wireline and wireless calls.

Countries can opt out of parts of the revised treaty when it emerges or refuse to sign it altogether.

“If we have no agreement it will create political tension around the Internet,” said Markus Kummer, vice president for public policy at industry think tank The Internet Society.

A leaked draft of the Russia-led proposals would give countries “equal rights to manage the Internet including in regard to the allotment, assignment and reclamation of Internet numbering.”

This could allow governments to render websites within their borders inaccessible, even via proxy servers or other countries. It also could allow for multinational pacts in which countries could terminate access to websites at each others’ request.

Such moves would undermine ICANN, a self-governing nonprofit organization under contract to the U.S. Department of Commerce, which is ultimately responsible for making sure that people trying to reach a given website actually get there….[Emphasis Added]

There are certain characteristics of a dictatorship.

Ankita posts 6 most important features of Dictatorship:

Features of Dictatorship

1. One Party, One Leader and One Programme:

In dictatorship only one party is allowed to exist and it is the dictator’s own party. Other political parties, associations and organizations are not allowed to func­tion. These are banned. All opposition to the dictator is ruthlessly suppressed. Hitler used to say, “Swastika or gallows”.

One Leader:

Under dictatorship, leadership is given to a single man. Full faith is to be concentrated in the leader. The leader is supposed to represent national unity. He is considered to be a symbol of national prestige. He is the final authority in every matter and his word is supreme.

One Programme:

The whole country is supposed to have one political programme and it is the programme of dictator’s own party.

2. Absence of Individual Liberty:

The individual does not enjoy any liberty or rights under dictatorship. Maximum obedience to the laws is equated to the maximum liberty. People are not allowed any liberty of speech, association and press. All agencies of education and propaganda such as schools, colleges, radio, papers and films are controlled by the state. In the words of Mussolini “people do not want liberty but they want law and order.

” No criticism against the dictator is tolerated. People are supposed to believe and obey. Democratic slogans of liberty, equality and fraternity are replaced by slogans like duty, discipline and sacrifice. Mussolini asserted, “Liberty is a dead carcass, I kick it.”

3. National Glorification:

Dictators glorify their nations to an illogical extreme. A mad sense ol patriotism is inculcated in the minds of the people. They are made intensely nationalistic.

The state is regarded as the march of God on earth. The state is considered to be the end and the individual a means to that end. People are supposed to sacrifice their lives on the alter of state.

4. Glorification of War:

Dictators glorify war. War is considered to be essential for the normal health of body-politic. The state is all powerful and it must enhance its prestige. The dictators adopt a war-like policy and glorify brute force as the means for achieving national greatness. In the opinion of Hitler, “In eternal warfare, mankind has become great; in eternal peace it will be ruined.”

To quote Mussolini, “War is to the man what maternity is to the woman.”

5. Totalitarian State:

Dictatorship is a totalitarian state which controls each and every aspect of human personality, and takes into its fold all human activities in the social, economic, political, educational, religious and cultural spheres.

No margin for individual liberty is left behind. “Nothing against the state, everything for the state, nothing outside the state” is the basic principle of dictatorship.

6. Racialism:

Dictators preach racialism. The Germans under Hitler regarded themselves to be superior to the people living in the rest of the world. They claimed that they belonged to the ancient Aryan stock. As such they regarded themselves to be superior to others.

Similarly, the Italians claimed that they belonged to the race of the ancient Roman conqueror and that they had a divine mission to conquer the world.

Aside from Russia and China, the others at this ball are Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates. The Sudan, that bastion of individual freedom? Really.

Jim Stovall writes at Digital Journalism about the First Amendment:

— enabling the right of people to speak and the process of speech;

— recognizing, to some extent, the value of symbolic speech, using symbols, actions rather than spoken words;

— recognizing the value of offensive speech – speech that people do not agree with or that offends beliefs, attitudes, public values, such as

criticizing the president and other government officials

burning the flag or a draft card

— understanding that restricting speech in one area can lead to restrictions in other areas;

— enabling the processes of the press, particularly reporting and publishing;

— fostering open government and the public’s “right to know” what their government is doing through laws mandating public meetings of government officials

— information that businesses must disclose

— reporters protection of sources and information

But there are limits to the protections that the First Amendment offers.

Can you imagine most of the attendees at the ball wanting to promote these ideas? Really.

Moi has more than an passing interest about what is happening at the ball. As an OLD FART, she opines on all topics freely. Many of the attendees at the ball seek to muzzle people like moi. See, Pussy Riot

If people don’t wake-up to the danger of international attempts to suppress Free Speech, they will find that what they thought were inalienable rights domestically, aren’t. Really.

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