Articles by date
06 November 2006
China forced to face its critics over internet censorship (The Observer)
This time there was no hiding place. Countries accused of turning the internet into a tool of repression - and the companies accused of helping them do it - were confronted with the full force of international condemnation at a special United Nations conference in Athens last week.
05 November 2006
Turkey vows to loosen laws on free speech (The Guardian)
Turkey's foreign minister Abdullah Gul vowed yesterday to end problems stemming from an article in the country's penal code that is used to charge writers, journalists and academics for expressing their opinions, Europe's human rights watchdog said.
ITU meeting in Turkey will tackle key Internet issues (NetworkWorld/IDG)
Government officials will meet in Turkey for the next three weeks to discuss the future of the Internet and take action on key issues such as cybercrime and Internet oversight.
Microsoft has restated its position on China following comments by one of its senior legal staff. Earlier this week, Microsoft senior counsel Fred Tipson said concerns about repression in China might make it reconsider its presence there.
04 November 2006
uk: Who's watching as we watch ourselves? (The Guardian)
Last week, footage of a girl being badly bullied in a New Zealand school playground had to be take down from YouTube, the hugely successful video hosting site now owned by Google. It was rightly removed because in a perverse act of glorification it had been uploaded by the gang that had committed the offence. But it could easily have been taken by an onlooker and used as evidence against the gang. Surveillance is now expanding too fast for its effects to be fully understood.
It sounds like a scene from the Tom Cruise futuristic thriller Minority Report. A teenager enters a record shop and a scanner hidden in the doorway instantly reads data secreted in electronic tags embedded in his clothes. The scanner clocks the brand of clothing and where it was purchased, flashing to a database which analyses what type of person would have bought that line of clothing and predicts what other products that person would like to buy. In an instant, adverts for those products are beamed to eye-level billboards for the teenager to see.
Back to the future, with a Victorian flavour (The Guardian)
There's a line of thought which argues that the internet will liberate the masses and allow us to achieve self-actualisation. "With technology," the proponents exclaim, "economies will spiral upwards, national boundaries will dissolve and people will work only for self-enlightenment!" And today's mighty panacea, often referred to as "user-generated content", will bring joy to the world and peace to us all.
IGF participants clash (InfoWorld/IDG)
The IGF touched on a number of issues, such as Internet oversight and multilingualism, with government officials, Internet experts and many others taking the stage to voice their opinions -- which often clashed.
Only one billion people out of the six billion-strong world population have internet access. So what is being done to connect up all the world's citizens?
Global Internet Policy Initiative Highlighted at IGF (Internews news release)
In presentations and workshops at the Internet Governance Forum this week, the Global Internet Policy Initiative (GIPI), a joint project of Internews Network and the Center for Democracy and Technology, was highlighted as a proven model for working locally to reform national laws and policies in order to foster expanded Internet access in developing countries.
03 November 2006
As we enter a more connected world, where devices talk to each other and make sense of the masses of data we create, the issue of how much control we have over this process becomes more important.
A Cuba government official told the IGF that the U.S. government was to blame for the poor Internet access that its citizens endure, arguing that, as a result, poorer countries are "financing" the Internet. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Fernandez to a high-level working group two years ago.
United Nations lauds internet's 'arranged marriage' (The Register)
The closing day of the IGF has ended on a high note with attendees from across the world (from business, government, international organisations and civil society) all expressing their delight at the experimental forum.
The first IGF ended with promise of breakthrough technologies to accelerate online access in developing countries and concerns of growing government interference globally. Key participants said Thursday that the four-day meeting had at least helped clarify differences between governments, industry and online groups ahead of the next Internet Governance Forum next year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Berners-Lee to head web research project (The Guardian)
The influence the internet has on the way we socialise and live our lives is to become the focus of a new field of study under the leadership of the inventor of the world wide web, Tim Berners-Lee.
The future of the net is under discussion at the first-ever Internet Governance Forum in Athens on Monday. The four-day forum has been set up by the United Nations to give companies, governments, organisations and individuals the space to debate what should happen to the net in the coming years. BBC News website Technology editor Darren Waters is reporting from the conference as it happens. The blog is continually updated.
ICANN 1 November announced a clear roadmap for the introduction of Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) based on progress so far and future work.
Knee-jerk UN haters in the US are fond of pointing horrified fingers at the presence of China, Syria and other authoritarian states whenever global governance is mentioned. See for example Declan McCullough's slanted piece in CNET [see below]. They might be surprised to learn that the UN Internet Governance Forum has opened the opportunity for a major assault on Internet blocking and filtering, and put repressive governments on the defensive by heightening awareness of the practice and pressuring them to justify it or change it.
Call it the Iran and Syria problem. In theory, the Bush administration could order that the domain names of allegedly hostile or terrorist-friendly nations be deleted from the Internet--a unique authority that troubles many developing nations and became a source of contention at the IGF.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the British developer of the world wide web, says he is worried about the way it could be used to spread "misinformation and "undemocratic forces".
United Nations Internet forum goes titsup (The Register)
The website of the IGF has been suspended (or had been at the time of writing of this article) and replaced with a cartoon dog pulling wires out of a PC. The site at igf2006.info was taken down with 20 minutes left of the main speaking session after the hosts complained that demand from a collaborative website set up to elicit views from the wider Internet was overwhelming its server. It also brought down the main information site at intgovforum.org which was held on the same server.
Internet milestone: 100 million websites (Sydney Morning Herald)
The first website went online in August 1991 and, now 15 years later, the 100-million website mark has been cracked.
02 November 2006
The End User: Content vs. control (International Herald Tribune)
Never mind who controls the Internet and whether the U.S. government has undue influence over domain names and root servers. If the question of control is about content, then the United States has a lock on the World Wide Web that looks unshakable. Of the top 30 most-visited Web sites, Asia is home to four and Europe has one, according to September statistics from comScore Networks, a U.S.-based market researcher. (And even the single European name, Lycos, has mixed U.S. parentage.)
A bill of rights for the internet age has been proposed at the IGF. The bill would update and restate rights that have been enshrined for centuries, said Robin Gross of civil liberties group IP Justice.
More than 90% of the world's 6,000 languages are not represented on the internet. So what must be done to make the internet a truly global place?