Originally published in The Clarion | November 07, 2012
To say that the Internet and Politics don’t mix well is quite the understatement. The Internet, and more specifically the World Wide Web, was designed and implemented with a great sense of openness in mind. Sure it was virtually impossible to predict where the Web would be in the 21st Century, but the underlying air of openness helped to drive innovation, create entirely new areas of personal and technical expertise and in many ways bring the world together unlike any other innovation in history. Over the years, individual countries have put restrictions on the Internet and Web, from censoring and/or blocking specific websites to entirely disconnecting all links leaving town. The lack of regulation, or better, the ability of individual nations to mandate their slice of the global network as they see fit, has had both good and bad consequences over the years.
Thankfully for us in America, the Internet and Web that we have grown to be so dependent on has essentially been untouched in regards to regulations and laws outside of those that already existed for certain crimes. Sure many methods of committing crimes have changed, but for the most part we are free to enjoy the Web as we see fit. At least that is the case today. There is a meeting coming up in December that has the potential to not only change the air of openness that we have come to expect while online, but also infringe on certain rights that – believe it or not – are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. For the sake of political correctness, I will only provide the scenario except to say that I have a real big problem with the “World” imposing rules, laws and regulations on me – especially ones that are against my rights as an American.
From reports, a December meeting in Dubai, sponsored by the United Nations, will propose new restrictions and regulations for the Internet – restrictions and regulations that might censor free speech and impose taxes on e-commerce. I don’t know about you, but this just doesn’t sound like a good idea whatsoever. Unfortunately, there are countries including China and Russia that appear to be in favor of such regulations. Needless to say, the governments in those countries don’t look too much like ours. Whatever the outcome of this meeting, the simple fact that our Internet freedoms could potentially be governed by a worldwide consortium – specifically the International Telecommunications Union – doesn’t sit too well. Is there anything you and I can do about this? I wish I knew. All that can be said with certainty is that the potential is there for rogue countries whose citizens have never had even a moment’s enjoyment of anything like our American freedoms to contribute to dictating how you and I use the Internet in our daily lives.