Big Bytes

Double Standards On Secret Government Internet Deals

Do you know the extent to which technology companies such as IBM, Google etc and other trade lobby groups are propagating dangerous idea that trade agreements should be used to govern the Internet. I love tossing such ideas to encourage consistent and unequivocal policies to promote a global Internet free from government control. How do secretly-negotiated global rules on net neutrality square with the European Parliament’s edict that no centralised international institution should assert regulatory authority over … internet governance or internet traffic flows? Where is Google’s campaign over the fact that engineers, companies, and people that build and use the web have no vote on concepts like net neutrality?

The answer is that lobbyists and political power brokers feel comfortable that they have much of negotiations under their control – bribing, hallucinating or whatever it takes! As IBM puts it, the US and the EU … are in the best position to define the rules of the road necessary to protect the world’s vital governmental, environmental and societal interests. This paternalistic observation, coming from a company that facilitated the South African apartheid regime while the U.S. government looked on, offers little comfort. When it comes to crafting Internet rules that protect users, the representatives from the United States and the European Union are not so trustworthy that we should entrust them with setting the rules of the road for the Internet, without transparency, oversight and other democratic checks and balances.

Nor do these states seem as interested in loosening their control over these processes as other nations. Amongst the countries excluded from such club of cronies are Brazil which crafted its Marco Civil da Internet in an open, multi-stakeholder process, Similarly the Philippines crowd sourced the drafting of a Magna Carta for the Internet that included some powerful principles. These are the kinds of processes, and the kinds of documents resulting from them, that at least nod to the openness we need for a legitimate debate about the future of the Internet. It’s notable that it is the world’s developing countries, rather than the U.S. and EU trade ministries who are at the forefront of innovating such processes. These initiatives at least point the way towards alternatives to trade negotiations in answer to pressures for global coordination of the development of Internet rules and policies.

In contrast, closed-door, secretive intergovernmental trade negotiations, are no way to craft rules for the Internet, no matter how well-intentioned the trade negotiators and their privileged business advisors, lobbyists or white collar cronies may be. There are simply too many valid interests, perspectives and critiques that are unavailable to them in such an opaque and captured process, inevitably resulting in a flawed and one-sided document. Far from being the kind of open governance innovation that the Internet deserves. We encourage technology users and providers to refuse such secretive processes to cover key Internet issues wherever it happens.

Remember, big online brands are below 1% of what is real Internet! To contain and inject mediocrity #paidmedia #celebs are just self-promoting niche ponds and hyping minor mirages compared to oceans of real information and people out in the open universe, which are also being trimmed intentionally by the same groups of vested cronies. It seems that political mafia are totally prostrate to corporate / foreign powers (read various kings and cronies). Will the real people please stand up? This has nothing to do with technology, actually! #NetNeutrality #SaveTheInternet

Ref. Electronic Frontier Foundation

Sudhir Panda

No bhakt of any popular gangs, an irrepressible autodidact, pure blunt+ ideas on politics, economics, technology, culture, etc, do not fit any known ideologies. Tweets at

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