by Eric Blair
November 1, 2011
For the next two days, leaders from around the
globe will collude with tech giants to discuss how to respond to the
challenges and opportunities of the Internet.
they'll be negotiating a global Internet
It is reported that officials from 60
countries will join
Microsoft and Tudou.com (Chinese video
sharing site), as well as cyber crime agencies, and computer security firms
at the London Conference on Cyberspace.
The London summit is hosted by Foreign Secretary, William Hague, who
said the purpose is to,
"discuss ideas and expected behavior in
To which he claims the goal is bring together
major players to determine how,
"collectively, we should respond to the
challenges and opportunities which the development of cyberspace
A few days before the conference,
Council on Foreign Relations members Adam Segal and
wrote that the conference presents those
calling for a global Internet treaty with "a step in that direction."
They also pointed out that NATO allies have already essentially agreed to a
"June 2011, NATO defense ministers agreed to
a collective vision of cyber defense, and the United States and
Australia recently announced that their mutual defense treaty extends to
Meanwhile, in September of this year, an
alliance between Russia, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan collaborated on
cybersecurity by introducing
The International Code of Conduct for Information
Security to the U.N. Secretary General.
This alliance views "information security" to mean combating the
dissemination of certain types of information which,
"undermines other countries' political,
economic and social stability, as well as their spiritual and cultural
In other words, if passed, political dissent on
the Internet would be censored by U.N. decree.
Analysts explained the power struggle to be that Western states want to
protect their networks from cyber attacks, while China and Russia seek
security of information, which means controlling content.
Western powers will preach Internet freedom to their counterparts at this
conference, yet they themselves have engaged in draconian measures like
arbitrarily seizing websites for merely
linking to copyrighted material and ordering
politically "harmful" material removed from
websites like YouTube. Also, in a blatant act of censorship, they infamously
Amazon to drop hosting service to WikiLeaks.
What's more, multiple bills are floating in the U.S. Congress that seek
further control over the Internet like the recent "rogue
websites" bill which one Representative called the "end
of the Internet."
At the same time, the new net neutrality rules
initiated without Congress, rather by the FCC with a 3-2 vote (where one
commissioner was rewarded with a
cushy job at Comcast), go
into effect on November 20th.
So, while they talk a good game about protecting free speech, the
U.S. and other Western powers seem to have similar ambitions to censor the
Internet as China and Russia do, each already using private Internet cartels
to do their dirty work. Therefore, they're likely not as far off from
agreeing on a treaty as the mainstream press is letting on.
Where they may not agree, however, is how to respond to potential cyber
crimes and suspected threats.
China, while strongly denying any government involvement, has been blamed
for many recent cyber attacks. Therefore, China, and most others, tend to
take the approach of prosecuting cyber crimes through a legal process.
The Pentagon, on the other hand, in their recently released
cybersecurity strategy, said the military
"prepared to respond to hostile acts in
"The United States reserves the right, under the laws of armed conflict,
to respond to serious cyber attacks with a proportional and justified
military response at the time and place of our choosing," said Deputy
Defense Secretary William Lynn at a speech announcing the new strategy.
Most nations want to legally separate
cybersecurity from traditional security concerns.
So, if only America can convince other attendees
to police the Internet with predator drones, they may actually agree
to a global Internet treaty.