Could We Lose The Internet?

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Could We Lose The Internet?

Postby haggis » Wed Dec 10, 2003 12:04 pm

Some of you may recall I posted several articles last years about RIAA and it’s attempts to exert control of the internet in the U.S. under the guise of protecting its intellectual property and eliminating illegal copying of music, video, etc. I suspect that Eric, Dan, and HRH are well aware of RIAA’s efforts and probably have a war story or two they could relate about the rapaciousness of the RIAA.

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.

”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.”
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.

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).
Haggis

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Re: Could We Lose The Internet?

Postby dai bread » Sun Dec 14, 2003 1:08 am

The "Washington Post" wanted personal info. to let me view that article about Geneva. I didn't give it of course. A U.S. newspaper has no legitimate interest in a reader in N.Z.

Govts. have been trying to regulate & tax the internet since its inception. So far they've failed, largely because it is a network and there's no single source of anything. Even BR broadcasts on several channels, and I'm sure they could arrange for multiple studios if necessary.

Here, our Goods & Services Tax (U.K. V.A.T.) catches the larger imports. Our authorities don't bother with the small stuff- it's not worth the paperwork.

We also have some sort of surveillance of chat rooms, ostensibly looking for (and finding) paedophiles. No-one has any beef with that, but it shows what can be done. (I think it's done by humans, not machines).

And for the daily affirmation thread: "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance".- John Phillpot Curran/Thomas Jefferson.

P.S. I retried the "Geneva" link. This time the W.P. put me straight through to the article. Perhaps they read this BB???????

It's a scary article, esp. as I am well aware of the type of govt. driving the proposal. Robert Mugabe comes to mind.

<small>[ 12-14-2003, 01:14 AM: Message edited by: dai bread ]</small>
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Re: Could We Lose The Internet?

Postby barfle » Mon Dec 15, 2003 12:01 pm

Hmmm, I find it difficult to believe that even the neocons would permit the UN to have any legal dominion over US Citizens in the US, although they've disappointed me many times recently.

IMNSHO, the Internet is ungovernable. It may be possible to keep it out of a geographic area, simply because it requires a modicum of high-tech hardware, but making any world-wide regulation of the world-wide-web is destined to fail. If we lose the Internet, it will be from all the spam overloading the servers and routers. As Haggis noted, the governments that are trying to censor the Internet are losing the battle.

From someone who spent 20 years in the video surveillance field, though, I can tell you that just because your image is stored, that doesn't mean your whereabouts are being monitored. If you happen to be in a bank during a robbery or some other anti-social act, you may be viewed by people studying the incident, but most pictures are discarded in a few months, a year at most, without ever being viewed. There is far too much data for anyone to spend time looking for you (for example) buying your clandestine cigarettes at a convenience store. Generally, anyone looking at surveillance photos is trying to find out who was someplace at a particular time, not trying to find out when and where a particular person was.

That being said, I also find the USA PATRIOT Act (a blasphemy if there ever was one) is a threat to our rights of free speech. The act, while not condoning censorship, does condone monitoring of data messages, which is done by machines looking for several specific words and phrases. Surveillance camera photos need to be reviewed by humans (although image recognition equipment is improving) but Internet data can pass through the machine until it flags a message for a human to review. That is much, much more sinister (particularly being in the hands of a government that has shown it's desire for more and more power) than a private business open to the public trying to protect its property.
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Re: Could We Lose The Internet?

Postby haggis » Tue Dec 16, 2003 5:17 pm

I think I should change the title of this thread to "Paranoid and Damn Proud of it!"

Barfle:

” Hmmm, I find it difficult to believe that even the neocons would permit the UN to have any legal dominion over US Citizens in the US, although they've disappointed me many times recently”
the following quote is from MICHAEL J. COPPS, a commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission

”This Internet may be dying. At the behest of powerful interests, the FCC is buying into a warped vision that open networks should be replaced by closed networks and that the FCC should excuse broadband providers from longstanding non-discrimination requirements. . . .
The FCC is rushing toward breathtaking change in regulatory policy. Whether it's the giant media companies or telecom's gatekeepers, we are closing networks, undermining competition, stifling entrepreneurship and threatening consumer choice. At this rate, it won't be long until we look back, shake our heads and wonder whatever happened to that open and dynamic high speed Internet that might have been.”



Barfle,
”IMNSHO, the Internet is ungovernable”
is just flat out wrong. The backbone of the internet, the servers and routers that power 90+% of the internet are in the U.S. (most, probably in California) It is very easy to govern it, it’s “governed” now by ICANN, fortunately ICANN’s idea of governing is to use a mostly “hands off” approach.

Many people believe that the internet is some vast collection of decentralized distributed PCs working in some synergistic fashion, encouraging the universal democratic sharing of information and opinions.

In truth, the Internet is a very controllable group of machines owned, for the most part, by various companies in the U.S. As an example of just how fragile the whole thing is, following the burst of the DOT.COMS a few years ago, there was a reduction of internet capacity as those bankrupt companies pulled the plug on some of the more important routers.

A lot of that earlier capacity still hasn’t been recovered.

I know I tend to get rather shrill and rantful on this subject, but its because I know the internet is not safe from the types of controls some people, both within and without the U.S. would like to see in place.

In this case, if you’re not paranoid yet it’s because you’re not paying attention!
Haggis

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Re: Could We Lose The Internet?

Postby barfle » Tue Dec 16, 2003 6:06 pm

Although there may be some people rattling sabers at the Internet, the US still won't permit an international body to govern American use of it. We thumb our noses at the World Court because we don't want foreigners telling us how to run our military, too. Again, I can't see such a body having any influence over US operations, other than our access to foreign sites.

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is responsible for assigning Domain Names and IP addresses. As noted in their website, they are independent of any government organization, and they have a genuine interest in keeping the Internet open and functioning. By and large, this is simply control of a big database. Assuming they had an interest in revoking a domain or IP address, it would still require the cooperation of the DNS operators to drop a user from the Internet.

While Internet capacity may well have dropped in the wake of the dotcom meltdown, much of that capacity was for the dotcoms that never really had a use for it. Bad business ideas are always bad business ideas, even if they are high-technology. The world has little use for carbon-fiber/titanium buggy whips.

While I am also of the opinion that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance, I believe our freedoms are under greater threats than any that might be posed by an attempt by the UN to govern the Internet in the US.
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Re: Could We Lose The Internet?

Postby haggis » Wed Dec 24, 2003 2:41 pm

Barfle,

I'm sorry if I wasn't clear in my earlier posts. I'm less concerned about the UN than I am about corporate America.

Don't for a second believe the Internet is uncontrollable; it is very easy to control and restrict it to registered users ala bulletin boards. And there is powerful incentives to governments, local and national, to support that idea; tax revenues to begin with.

As I said, if you are not paranoid then you are not paying attention.


"the Internet could become a tool of corporate and government power, based on updates now in the works".....

....."How could the freedom genie be shoved back into the bottle? Basically, it’s part of a huge effort to transform the Net from an arena where anyone can anonymously participate to a sign-in affair where tamperproof “digital certificates” identify who you are. The advantages of such a system are clear: it would eliminate identity theft and enable small, secure electronic “micro-transactions,” long a dream of Internet commerce pioneers. (Another bonus: arrivederci, unwelcome spam.) A concurrent step would be the adoption of “trusted computing,” a system by which not only people but computer programs would be stamped with identifying marks. Those would link with certificates that determine whether programs are uncorrupted and cleared to run on your computer."


You can read the rest of the article here
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Re: Could We Lose The Internet?

Postby Haggis@wk » Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:07 am

I don’t like the sound of this

“The US, Europe and other countries including New Zealand are secretly drawing up rules designed to crack down on copyright abuse on the internet, in part by making ISPs liable for illegal content, according to a copy of part of the confidential draft agreement that was seen by the IDG News Service.”
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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Re: Could We Lose The Internet?

Postby Schmeelkie » Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:22 am

Sheesh, and I just found it annoying a few years ago when NY state started adding a tax on internet sales. When you do your yearly taxes, you're supposed to go through all your purchases on the internet and apply NYS sales tax, and add to what you owe, or you can pick a flat fee, I think based on your income - think I added something like $23 last year. Since I had the kids, I do a good deal of shopping online, especially for clothes for myself and Christmas presents, so no way to get around it. NY State is really good at finding ways of taxing just about everything (then misusing the money and wondering later where it all went).
I don't mind paying a little for something like the commercial-free stream here at B.com, but I don't want to have to log on to everything just to read a news story, etc. There's already enough information about me on the internet, I don't want more in the hands of a group that may or may not be responsible with it (or vulnerable to hacking!). YIKES!
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Re: Could We Lose The Internet?

Postby dai bread » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:54 pm

I thought this had been dealt with when it first surfaced months ago. Evidently not. Local ISPs protested vigorously, but apparently not vigorously enough...
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Re: Could We Lose The Internet?

Postby jamiebk » Tue Feb 23, 2010 9:52 am

Schmeelkie wrote:Sheesh, and I just found it annoying a few years ago when NY state started adding a tax on internet sales. When you do your yearly taxes, you're supposed to go through all your purchases on the internet and apply NYS sales tax, and add to what you owe, or you can pick a flat fee,


California has that as well. We're supposed to pay Ca. tax on internet purchases made out of state. Now, keep in mind that they have absolutely no way of monitoring or auditing this. So do you think anyone is really going to volunteer that they bought XX dollars of items over the internet and jot down a 9.5% sales tax??? Probably not. We already pay tax on internet items purchased in CA...internet sales for businesses domiciled in CA are already taxed and collected by the merchant on line.
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Re: Could We Lose The Internet?

Postby Shapley » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:19 am

Logically, there is no reason that sales taxes should be paid to the State of residence if purchased from out of State. In fact, it used to considered unconstitutional to do so, altough the courts have recently determined that States can charge taxes or duties on goods imported from other States as long as they don't call them taxes or duties (they usually call them 'user fees').

The state of residence has no hand in the transaction of you purchase from out-of-state. The only involvment is with the shipper, who pays taxes on his vehicles that transport the goods through the State. The business, on the other hand, pays taxes to its State or States of occupancy, but does not charge export taxes when selling to out-of-state customers, again in compliance with traditional interpretations of the constitution.

The States are greedy. For two hundred years they've been trying to find a way around that prohibition.
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Re: Could We Lose The Internet?

Postby Shapley » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:22 am

Illinois also has, or has had, that voluntary tax form. They want you to compute the difference between the taxes you pay on purchases bought in other states and to pay the difference. They nicely told us that this is meant only to apply to large purchases: appliances, farm machinery, etc.

I don't know anyone who actually did so...
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Re: Could We Lose The Internet?

Postby Haggis@wk » Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:21 pm

jamiebk wrote: California has that as well. We're supposed to pay Ca. tax on internet purchases made out of state. Now, keep in mind that they have absolutely no way of monitoring or auditing this. So do you think anyone is really going to volunteer that they bought XX dollars of items over the internet and jot down a 9.5% sales tax??? Probably not. We already pay tax on internet items purchased in CA...internet sales for businesses domiciled in CA are already taxed and collected by the merchant on line.


California Senate Passes Amazon tax

Since California citizens are liable for use tax, why not try to force Amazon to disclose their purchases instead of trying to force Amazon to collect the tax itself?

I’m guessing that California politicos don’t want the backlash from mailing a new tax bill to millions of voters in an election year. Which suggests a possible response from Amazon, perhaps . . .

I think the Internet sales-tax issue is one that should be resolved, if at all, by Congress, which clearly has the power to do so.

Reportedly, Rhode Island’s “Amazon Tax” has killed jobs but produced zero revenue. I wonder how much the politicians care. It seems as much a control thing as a revenue issue, really. They just can’t stand the thought that people aren’t paying tribute.
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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Re: Could We Lose The Internet?

Postby Shapley » Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:45 pm

Haggis@wk wrote:Reportedly, Rhode Island’s “Amazon Tax” has killed jobs but produced zero revenue. I wonder how much the politicians care. It seems as much a control thing as a revenue issue, really. They just can’t stand the thought that people aren’t paying tribute.


Their logic is that if they can kill internet business, it'll revive the 'mom & pop' bricks & mortar stores that are lobbying so hard against internet sales. It won't happen, but that's the logic...
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Re: Could We Lose The Internet?

Postby Haggis@wk » Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:36 pm

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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Re: Could We Lose The Internet?

Postby analog » Sat Feb 27, 2010 9:30 pm

ECOMCON
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Re: Could We Lose The Internet?

Postby dai bread » Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:16 pm

If anything sinks the internet it will be the copyright police. Moves are afoot to have ISPs made responsible for anything downloaded illegally, so that the onus is placed on them to ask up front if a download is legal. Just how the music and film industries expect this to be done beats me.

While I realise that those industries have a right to make a living out of their intellectual property, I don't have as much sympathy for them as I should. The movie industry is always after tax breaks (and they get them here), yet they make millions at the box office and in DVD sales. How often is there an item in a movie's credits thanking the Mayor's Office of some city, or some film commission somewhere?

The music industry wants about $30 for a CD that cost $1 to make. Possibly that $1 is the cost of printing and packaging a CD, in which case the cost will be higher to allow for all sorts of allied costs like royalties and freight, but if it comes to anything like $30 management needs a shake-up.
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