news UN Debates Internet Regulation

The United Nations have been discussing a global effort to regulate free information via the internet.

In the wake of WikiLeaks, we should have expected this sort of reaction from the corridors of power. The de-centralized nature of the internet is good enough for material consumption to sustain economies, but problematic when the very nature of state and financial power–which is centralized–is called into question.

We might further say that free speech is permissible as long as its practitioners confine themselves to a neutered form of state criticism (in most western democracies, excepting authoritarian regimes like China), as voiced publicly or symbolically by voting; but, expand the definition of free speech to a free flow of information and governments become all too aware of their fragile grip on control.

According to Australia’s ITNews, at the UN’s Commission on Science & Technology gathering, ”Representatives from Brazil called for an international body made up of Government representatives that would attempt to create global standards for policing the internet—specifically in reaction to challenges such as WikiLeaks.”

There is but one response in the case of all states, since they are all threatened: regulating internet free speech to control the free flow of information. The UN gathering of December 15-17 was a response to ECOSOC Resolution 2010/2, which, when read, is so infected with labyrinthine citations and footnotes that it would make David Foster Wallace blush and Terry Gilliam’s bureaucratic hatred multiply.

ECOSOC Resolution 2010/2 states in the Internet Governance section that the World Summit on the Information Society:

“Reaffirms the principles enunciated at the World Summit that the Internet has evolved into a global facility available to the public, that its governance should constitute a core issue of the information society agenda and that the international management of the Internet should be multilateral, transparent and democratic, with the full involvement of Governments, the private sector, civil society and international organizations. Reaffirms the principles enunciated at the World Summit that the Internet has evolved into a global facility available to the public, that its governance should constitute a core issue of the information society agenda and that the international management of the Internet should be multilateral, transparent and democratic, with the full involvement of Governments, the private sector, civil society and international organizations.”

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