The Balkans War has started again. If Russia and China have their way, we could see a fragmentation of the World Wide Web that was inconceivable over twenty years ago.
Robert McDowell, admittedly my favorite Federal Communications Commission member, raised this very scary observation in a piece he wrote in yesterday’s The Wall Street Journal. In short, China and Russia would support an assertion of control over the Internet by the International Telecommunications Union.
If it’s not broke, why fix it? “Fixing” it may mean handing nations not known for their celebration of the freedom of expression a new tool to dampen the exchange of ideas, as well as make a little money for their coffers by charging for access to foreign websites.
The United Nations will reportedly start discussing this proposal as part of treaty negotiations that created the ITU. Discussions begin 27 February 2012.
Well, this latest development should make net neutrality proponents here in the United States very happy. It is going to be very tough for the United States to say no to heavy handed regulation of Internet traffic when our own Federal Communications Commission has allowed for the same approach to Internet traffic here in the United States. How can we tell China, Russia, and other members of the new Internet-communist bloc that management of Internet traffic by a government agency is a bad thing when we require transparency on network management via net neutrality rules?