[Politech] United Nations summit roundup, and why aren't bloggers interested? (3/3)

From: Declan McCullagh (declan@private)
Date: Tue Nov 08 2005 - 11:29:31 PST

Google, IBM, Microsoft, others show up at DC event to back status quo:

EU claims to be "optimistic" that the U.S.'s role will be altered:

Bush's "Monroe Doctrine" for the Internet:

Larry Lessig on the situation:


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	Why no blog swarm on Net governance?
Date: 	Mon, 7 Nov 2005 10:27:11 -0500
From: 	Glover, Daniel <DGlover@private>
To: 	<declan@private>

I answer the question at NationalJournal.com's Beltway Blogroll:

November 07, 2005

The U.N. As A Threat To Online Speech

Bloggers of all political persuasions rallied online
log-.php>  last week to defend their right to speak freely about
American political candidates. But on the global question of who should
oversee the Internet, an issue with potentially far broader
ramifications on free speech, bloggers have been noticeably less vocal.

Blog-like tech publications such as ICANN Watch
<http://www.icannwatch.org/>  and Slashdot <http://slashdot.org/>  have
covered the debate about Internet governance regularly, and
tech-oriented bloggers like Andy Carvin <http://www.andycarvin.com/>  of
the Digital Divide Network and Steven Forrest
<http://free2innovate.net/archives/cat_internet_governance.html>  at
Free2Innovate.net have opined on the topic. Carvin even created
WSISblogs <http://www.edwebproject.org/wsisblogs/> , a clearinghouse for
reports from bloggers who cover WSIS-related events.

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds also has mentioned Internet governance
<http://instapundit.com/archives/026077.php>  periodically. But even
with the heft of his influential blog, the issue has failed to gain the
same traction as the blog swarm
n_dc.php>  against Federal Election Commission plans to regulate the

Bruce Kesler called for more attention to the issue in a post at
Democracy Project
<http://www.democracy-project.com/archives/001913.html> , where he
decried the European Union for aligning with "such stalwarts of
smothering Internet freedom as China, Cuba, Iran and several African

"This issue, this outrageous putsch attempt, deserves an uproar heard
around the world on the Internet," he wrote.

"I honestly don't know why the bloggers haven't been more active on this
one," said Adam Thierer of the Progress and Freedom Foundation, who has
covered the topic at PFF Blog
<http://blog.pff.org/archives/internet_governance/index.html> . "It's
perplexing and frustrating." ...

Reynolds said bloggers might not have rallied against Internet
governance because they don't see the United Nations as a threat.
"Perhaps it's a mistake, but I don't think that bloggers take the U.N.
that seriously," he said in an e-mail that referenced the body's
response to human rights abuses in Bosnia and Iraq. "Slobodan Milosevic
and Saddam [Hussein] have made fools of the U.N., so bloggers don't
think it dangerous."

Kesler added that blogs tend to focus on domestic issues that readers
see as more pressing. "The FEC potential regulations are a more
immediate threat," he wrote in an e-mail, "but the U.N. interference is
of wider import, as there are alternate means of and protections of free
speech in the U.S. but not in many sad places abroad."

He also noted that swarms demand consensus. Although most bloggers who
have commented on the idea of U.N. oversight of the Web oppose the
notion, that view is not unanimous.

"You can see the U.S. conservative spin machine turning this into a
battle between the democracy-loving U.S. government protecting the
Internet from censorship from the dictators and thugs who run the United
Nations," the blog Rikomatic
s-line-in-the-sand-on-internet-governance>  noted last month. "The
reality, of course, is more complex."

That complexity includes a general mistrust of the Bush administration
when it comes to international relations. One blogger characterized the
administration's emphatic dismissal of a global role in Internet
governance as another example of poor diplomacy
<http://tips.vlaurie.com/2005/washington-blunders-again/> , comparing it
with the U.S. attitude in rejecting a treaty on global warming.

Moulitsas argued that the administration's "international belligerence
has given the rest of the world little faith that the U.S. will have
global interests in mind when regulating what is, in effect, a global
medium." He added that the U.S. government's decision earlier this year
to warn ICANN against creating a .xxx Internet space exclusively for
porn indicated that the administration "will impose its political agenda
on Net governance."

"The Internet isn't served well by having it controlled by the political
whims of the sitting U.S. government," he said. ...

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