One scary proposal that I’ve heard is draft legislation, apparently coming out of Orrin Hatch’s office, that would essentially call for everyone using the Internet in the U.S. to register and receive a unique identifying number that would be required to use the Internet, sort of an internet “driver’s license.”
Implementation of that is not as far fetched as it would seem. The mechanism for such a scheme was built into the original backbone of the Internet when it was a DoD research tool used by colleges and government researchers to talk with each other.
As scary as that proposal is to me, what’s happening in Geneva is even scarier.
I think it’s more than instructive to see that during the meeting, “Reporters Without Borders” were excluded from the meeting because of its criticism of the UN's hypocrisy on human rights.”Leaders from almost 200 countries will convene next week in Geneva to discuss whether an international body such as the United Nations should be in charge of running the Internet, which would be a dramatic departure from the current system, managed largely by U.S. interests.
The representatives, including the heads of state of France, Germany and more than 50 other countries, are expected to attend the World Summit on the Information Society, which also is to analyze the way that Web site and e-mail addresses are doled out, how online disputes are resolved and the thorny question of how to tax Internet-based transactions.”
If you think Ascroft and the Patriot Act are a threat, consider the effect of global censorship at the behest of responsible governments such as Libya, Iran, China, Syria or Zimbabwe. Those countries already heavily censor their own Internet service and are losing the battle. In their eyes it would be much simpler to go to the source, presumably ICANN, and lock out the threats.
We frequently have spirited discussion about some people’s perceptions that the U.S. is censoring free speech with the Patriot Act, etc, but the simple truth is if there were the level of censorship some believe we wouldn’t be able to even discuss it. That’s evidence enough to me that we still have and will continue to have free speech in this country, at least.
But consider this, a UN/ICANN could easily decide that Beethoven.com is nothing more than a local radio station and restrict it’s audience to those registered users in Connecticut. And since it’s a radio station, why does it even NEED a bulletin board?
Think I’m paranoid? Maybe I am, but just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean that someone's not out to get me (us).