Internet governance, the position of Reporters Without Borders

first_img Organisation Help by sharing this information News RSF_en The second stage of the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis from 16 to 18 November will discuss how to legally and technically administer the Internet. Reporters Without Borders stresses the bad effects on freedom of expression that alternatives proposed by some countries will have. The second stage of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis from 16 to 18 November will be a showy United Nations event where countries will try to agree on the legal and technical future of the Internet. How the Web is administered and regulated worldwide will be the hottest topic on the agenda. The United States currently controls the main bodies that run the Internet, including the main one, ICANN, a California-based legal body that assigns domain names worldwide. Virtually every other country criticises this US monopoly as unacceptable. The reaction is understandable because ICANN’s decisions, though they seem very technical, have direct political repercussions. It can, in theory, block access to country domain names (for example, all the .fr or .cn sites). Money is also an issue because the body that runs the Internet has power to give advantage to some technologies and thus certain firms. The recent hiring by Google of Internet pioneer Vinton Cerf, ICANN’s vice-president, has therefore raised concern.The situation can certainly be criticised but the proposed remedies seem much worse. China, Cuba and the world’s other most repressive countries want to hand over control of the Internet to an independent supra-national body such as the United Nations. But the UN’s clumsy record on human rights – its Rights Commission was recently chaired by Libya – make the prospect a chilling one. Do we really want the countries that censor the Internet and throw its users in prison to be in charge of regulating the flow of information on it? The simple fact of holding of WSIS in Tunisia, whose president and his family control the national media and Internet access with an iron grip, shows that freedom of expression is not seen as a key issue at the Summit.Yet under all the world’s dictatorships, the Internet is these days an outlet for independent news that escapes censorship. Seeing the Internet as just something technical and thus allowing the likes of Iran and Vietnam to take part in running it worldwide is a mistake that could cost hundreds of millions of users dearly.The European Union has recently distanced itself clearly from the US position. Without lining up with China, it wants the WSIS to come up with a new multilateral decision-making process. It suggests that an international forum of private and public representatives be involved in running the Internet. But this is still too vague to be a credible alternative. The entire Internet depends on the reliability of procedures and technology approved by ICANN. Politicians sometimes have to be consulted, but giving too much importance to governments could harm the growth of the Web and undermine its stability.It is hard to justify ICANN being under control of one country forever. The United States will have to negotiate on this point and indeed it has proposed that the Internet be run by the private sector. It has to be admitted that the US has managed to develop the Internet without major problems and that it broadly respects online freedom of expression. So let us hope an acceptable compromise – that reduces government intervention to a minimum and guarantees freedom of expression -will be found at the WSIS. If not, it would be best to leave things as they are. November 10, 2005 – Updated on January 25, 2016 Internet governance, the position of Reporters Without Borderslast_img read more

The need for and the impact of CUSOs

first_imgThere are numerous examples of companies that did not adjust to the changes in their industries that are no longer with us.  Kodak, Border Books and Blockbuster come to mind.  One disruptor has been so effective, their name is now used as a verb in describing the effect, getting “Uber-ed” referring to losing your market to a disruptor with little capital investment.  In hindsight, the disruption to these business models was obvious yet companies did not act in time.  It is human nature to be in denial when dramatic change is required, but change is often required to survive.   Netflix changed from a DVD delivery model to an online streaming model and they have flourished.Credit unions are at such an inflection point today.  In the 1930’s credit unions were the disrupters.  In those days, people had very limited choices to obtain financial services.  You had to be within a short travel distance from a financial institution. Credit unions provided reasonably priced services to common folks.  They were service oriented.  Credit unions did so through a collaborative model. continue reading » 16SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more