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The Internet Communications Government Politics

Europe Proposes International Internet Treaty 116

Posted by Soulskill
from the it-will-all-be-accessible-by-train dept.
Stoobalou writes "Europe has proposed an Internet Treaty to protect the Internet from the political interference which threatens to break it up. The draft international law has been compared to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which sought to prevent space exploration being pursued for anything less than the benefit of all human kind. The Internet Treaty would similarly seek to preserve the Internet as a global system of free communication that transcends national borders."
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Europe Proposes International Internet Treaty

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  • Europe? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Europe is not a country. You need to clarify what institution in Eurpoe proposed this treaty, the European Union for example.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Runaway1956 (1322357)
      Dude - most of my countrymen have no idea what DIRECTION Europe is, let alone how many political bodies there might be there!
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Belial6 (794905)
        No kidding! Just the other day, I had some idiot telling me that if you traveled east, you would get to Europe, and then not 10 minutes later claimed that you could get their if you went west instead.
      • by Phleg (523632)
        Don't be ridiculous. We all know that Europe is up and to the right.
        • Up and to the right might mean a lot of things. If you start shooting up and to the right, you might hit the moon, or the sun. Personally, I prefer nautical terms, like east by northeast. Or, if you prefer, a heading of about 80 degrees should land you SOMEWHERE in Europe, no matter where you launch your ship from an east coast state. On the other hand, if you launch from a west coast state, you may prefer to head west by southwest, until you clear China, then head west, then west by northwest around In
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Apatharch (796324)
      Maybe it was these guys []?
    • by VJ42 (860241) *
      According to TFA it was the Council of Europe
    • Europe is not a country. You need to clarify what institution in Eurpoe proposed this treaty, the European Union for example.

      'Europe' is what the unelected, unaccountable European Union, that has never been given a mandate by the people of Europe to rule them, cleverly manipulates the media into calling it, thus implying that it is indeed a country, with its own flag, anthem, ministers, parliament, ambassadors, UN representatives, bureaucracy, legal system, executive, President and all the rest of the paraphernalia associated with being a country, popularly called Europe. Much like the USA is a country, popularly called America.


      • You forget that the people are in control of their own country's leadership, in effect a form of control over 'Europe' leadership. It's not perfect, but as a citizen of the UK, I enjoy being part of the European Union, because 'elbowing the US big boy out of the way', as you put it, is often dearly needed. Gay rights, human rights (can anyone say torture and Guantanamo?), anti-trust companies, religious-political interference, commercial-political interference, special interests, need I go on? Yeah, Europe
        • I am aware that the people control their own countries' leaderships, but the fact is their own countries are no longer independent countries, having been subsumed into a centrally-governed European super-state. If it was a "bunch of independent countries coming together", it would be a good thing unquestionably.

          However, it is not: it is a powerful central political core, with ambitions to strut on the World Stage, dictating for its own benefit the laws that control those millions of peoples' lives. The li

  • Who is Europe? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lyml (1200795) on Monday September 20, 2010 @12:34PM (#33637570)
    What does the article mean when they say Europe proposes something?

    The european parliament, the council, some other organisations or perhaps a country from Europe?

    The article is a little bit light on detail.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by vlm (69642)

      What does the article mean when they say Europe proposes something?

      "Council of Europe" a very fuzzy imitation of the EU that does not have binding laws.

      I cannot figure out what they do or what their place is. Plenty of fuzzy HR stuff about "whirrled peas" and so forth but nothing concrete about whom does what when to whom.

      • Re:Who is Europe? (Score:4, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday September 20, 2010 @12:55PM (#33637928) Journal
        The Council of Europe predates the EU by quite a large margin. It was set up at the end of the Second World War. The organisation proposes treaties, which their members then sign. It covers a much larger area than the EU. You might be familiar with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which has been implemented in law in most of the member nations.
        • by oldhack (1037484)

          So it's one of those European things.

          If Chinese brought something like this, and got it bought by few of their friends, perhaps we can do some bargaining to cook up something concrete, be it "good" or "evil". But I just don't see this happening with this Euro offering.

          Best I can see is the Europe leads by example - have the member countries signed up and demonstrate what benefits it brings.

          • You might do well to check who is part of the council of Europe []. The council of Europe includes all of the European countries, all of the former USSR, and has the USA, Canada, and Japan as official observers. That's a huge proportion of the industrialised world.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The Council of Europe (founded 1949) is a lot older than the EU, it also contains non-EU-members, such as Russia, Switzerland and Turkey.

    • by Rhaban (987410)

      Them. []

    • What does the article mean when they say Europe proposes something?

      The european parliament, the council, some other organisations or perhaps a country from Europe?

      Isn't it obvious? []

  • If I actually get a vote on this. Do we get a vote? What about the people of North Korea, do they get a vote on this? Even if it passes, do they get internet access since the "world body said so"? Somehow, I don't think so.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Lumpy (12016)

      It's all posturing and waving in the air. It's as useless as the Space treaty.

      Ignore it as some politician trying to get his name in the history books.

    • by MBGMorden (803437)

      I'm about in the same position. The idea - in general - isn't necessarily a bad one, but I'd need to see some specific details (and the text of the treaty) to throw in my support.

      In general though, without seeing it, if it's restrictions on what companies and governments can do, then I'll likely support it. If it's restrictions on what people can do, then I'm not likely to support it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by pugugly (152978)

        Among the few specifics it gets into is formalizing net neutrality and the end-to-end nature of the Internet - if it only accomplished that it would be worthwhile methinks.

        Obviously I hope for more, but that it does formalize that as an international standard tends to indicate that's something they agree on.


    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Wonko the Sane (25252)

      Do we get a vote?

      In Europe you will if and only if the politicians think that you will vote the "right" way.

      If for some reason the popular vote doesn't go their way they'll just pass the same thing without giving the public the option of voting on it next time.

    • If I actually get a vote on this. Do we get a vote? What about the people of North Korea, do they get a vote on this? Even if it passes, do they get internet access since the "world body said so"? Somehow, I don't think so.

      Familiar with the prisoners dilemma?

      If everyone says "I won't do it, because others won't", it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It was the US who didn't sign the Kyoto protocol.

      We got to start somewhere. Even if not everyone participates. If the goal is noble, the not participating countries can be made to comply by economic leverage, or making a contract: Nation X doesn't sign a nuclear weapon treaty, because those are its powerful weapons. Nations Y and Z contract with X to help out in case of war. For this

    • If it is "keep the governments out" I am a yea.
      If I actually get a vote on this. Do we get a vote? What about the people of North Korea, do they get a vote on this? Even if it passes, do they get Internet access since the "world body said so"? Somehow, I don't think so.

      What is the difference between government voting and you voting. You voted for this government, so they can represent you. Or at least the majority of your country. Do you oppose what most people of your country vote for? If so, voting directly will not give you a different result.

  • Protect from whom? (Score:3, Informative)

    by DeKO (671377) <> on Monday September 20, 2010 @12:36PM (#33637606)

    Let me guess: by giving total control to corporations (especially in the old-school entertainment industry).

    • giving total control to western corporations (especially Hollywood).

      Much more accurate now.

  • AS a sweeping overview, presented in a non-legal and non-technical news source this sounds like a great idea. Whether it turn out to be as good an idea when you get down to the proposed details and specifics is another matter, but so far I like it. It's very easy, in politics, to cover changes that will accomplish one set of goals with rhetoric that claims they will do the opposite. In this case I suspect the devil is very much in the details, but I'd love to see what they come up with.

  • Perhaps it will be equally as effective as the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, the efficacy of which is in serious doubt.

    "Among its principles, it bars States Parties to the Treaty from placing nuclear weapons or any other weapons of mass destruction in orbit of Earth, installing them on the Moon or any other celestial body, or to otherwise station them in outer space." []

    I, for one, don't want to see any nukes on the interwebs.
  • What about ACTA? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by piffey (1627145)
    Wait, wait, wait. What about ACTA []? I thought that was supposed to get us all on the same page. The one treaty to, in the darknets, bind them.
    • Re:What about ACTA? (Score:5, Informative)

      by TyFoN (12980) on Monday September 20, 2010 @12:44PM (#33637732)

      Not after EU rejected [] it :)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mbone (558574)

      ACTA was not supposed to be a treaty, but an Agreement (that second A) - i.e., something the President could do by Executive Order. That it really was a treaty in all-but-name was a large part of the reason why I opposed it.

      At any rate, ACTA came from the US. This, isn't. So, based on the limited knowledge we have, I would consider these two efforts orthogonal.

  • Can we at least wait until the US department of commerce significantly screws things up before we go around demanding international treaties?
  • Oh good... (Score:1, Troll)

    by interval1066 (668936)
    ...more pseudo-political crap from Europe that we can ignore.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They were 'pseudo-political' enough to stop ACTA, unlike corporate-political nations.

      • They were 'pseudo-political' enough to stop ACTA, unlike corporate-political nations.
        Only, b/c they didn't think of it first. Expect to see a new version of the ACTA, this time sponsored by Louis Vuitton, Siemens et al. appearing in Brussles and then it will be the greatest thing since sliced bread.
        • louis vuitton ? siemens ?

          do you think, if there was that level of corporatism in eu, acta would ever be rejected, or, a parliament that could reject acta would ever come to being ?

          dont talk like witless fools.
    • by VJ42 (860241) *
      This is from the council of Europe (the one that gave us the ECHR) not the EU.
  • by retech (1228598) on Monday September 20, 2010 @01:16PM (#33638268)
    Until Cory Doctorow chimes in, I'm a blank slate on this issue. I'm sure he'll have a way to sort this out and make the world a free place for hugs and artists.
    • by oldhack (1037484)
      I'm with Stallman on this one.
    • He's not serious. He's mocking you. Please, please *don't* chime in. We've got it covered, thanks...

      • by retech (1228598)
        This is a perfect example of why we need a [sarcasm] [/sarcasm] tag. Even then, I suspect, the ego of C.D. would trump it.
      • Here's a pro-tip from the internet: If you don't care for people, don't listen to them. You can't stop Cory Doctrow from commenting anymore then I can stop you from you from bashing Cory. That's one of the reasons that the internet is so awesome.
        So quit yer bitchin.
  • Anyone got a link to the draft ? The OA says that they have it, but I don't see a link

  • Just as the declarations of international human rights in the past, even if this is passed, it will be another silly international resolution with no binding effect on individual countries. While I agree with the purpose of this law more than the international declaration on human rights, it doesn't make this any less pointless. I would certainly like to see countries stop regulating the internet but there has to be a better way to go about protecting individual internet freedoms.
  • by NevarMore (248971) on Monday September 20, 2010 @01:34PM (#33638588) Homepage Journal

    ...of the Internet by having the politicians and governments agree to a treaty.

    Lets think this through for a minute.

    • by robot256 (1635039)
      Come on, man, cut them a little slack. You can't expect them to ignore the issue completely, can you? They have to at least promise to ignore it. After all, it was politicians who wrote and signed the Constitution that says "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press", and we know what would have happened if they hadn't.
      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by NevarMore (248971)


        I just worry when the government gets involved because they only tool they have to solve problems is to legislate and regulate. Even passive "government shall not" regs lead to challenges which inevitably lead to more regulation.

        Using your free speech example, in many jurisdictions hate speech is regulated as is "shouting 'Fire!' in a theatre". The point is not to get into a debate as to whether or not those are constitutional, its to show that "shall not" laws are still laws and sooner or later it'l

        • But the alternative is to ignore the issue completely and look completely clueless. Not to mention that some of us believe that there should be regulation of the Internet at least to the point of telling the corporations that exercise passive control of it to leave it alone. As much as it would be cool if the Internet just kept on Internetting, the fact is that a number of entities (governments and corporations) are trying to exercise various amount of control all ready. To just ignore that in favor of b

    • by Jedi Alec (258881)

      ...of the Internet by having the politicians and governments agree to a treaty.

      Lets think this through for a minute.

      You know what, that makes perfect sense...oh wait.

      Who wrote the US constitution again?

  • Whereas the status quo does not. In Europe it is common to have bureaucrats who put into place censorship in the form of hate speech laws which don't have any clear cut boundaries (who gets to decide what kind of speech is hateful?) and I'd rather not have them be enforced for "the benefit of humanity." Besides, I don't see such a treaty being signed by countries such as Iran, China, Cuba, etc.

    In other words, this sounds like a bad idea.

    • The thing is that US has now control about the internet (top level domains) and this can be a powerful tool to push its IP laws on other countries.

      • The thing is that US has now control about the internet (top level domains) and this can be a powerful tool to push its IP laws on other countries.

        Except the US doesn't do this. Theoretically we could shut down enemy countries if we wanted to, but we don't even do that.

        Simply put I'd rather leave the internet in the hands of those who have a proven track record of non interference no matter the circumstances, than hand it over to those who have made it clear that they want to interfere.

        • Look, the US threatened Sweden to kick it out of WTO, if they don't act against Pirate bay. I don't see the clear track record.

    • and they will bring forth any violation that others make or they perceive them making but they won't adhere to the same rules or so loosely define their own compliance we will have the equivalent of the UN Human Rights Council.... where the worst of us define the rights of all.

    • by Xest (935314) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @05:17AM (#33646700)

      US management of the internet has led to censorship of foreign sites globally through the court seizure of gambling domains, the court orders to take the Wikileaks domain offline and so forth.

      As US management of the internet currently allows arbitrary judges to arbitrarily censor any part of the net from public view by seizing the domain names, whether based in the US or not then I don't see how a treaty to prevent exactly the sort of thing could make things worse, even if it is sponsored by Europe.

      At least European censorship has to pass through democratic process and can be challenged in courts both at local and European level, rather than the arbitrary censorship US judges can impose on the internet at the behest of any random litigant requesting it currently. It's also worth noting that the US has pushed ACTA provisions, and it's comments regarding Wikileaks suggest it is moving strongly towards even greater powers and ability to censor parts of the internet at will.

  • I'll support this if the intention is to maintain a free internet, with free speech, etc. However, if this is just some thin pretense to enforce some kind of WIPO-esque [] copyright/"IP protection" scheme at the behest of the RIAA/MPAA and their international equivalents--then forget it. Sadly, I suspect the latter may be the real motivation here, though couched as the former.
    • by shaitand (626655)

      Given the stated goal it is probably a way to slip in some form of government control of the internet.

      Much like the can spam act here in the states. Supposedly it was to make spam mail illegal. But before the bill all spam was illegal. What the bill did was establish a set of rules under which one could legally spam people.

  • Regulation? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Caerdwyn (829058)

    As ostensibly noble-minded as this is, it's a means of saying "an international body should make internet rules". If they can have authority to force some things to be allowed, that same authority can be used to have other things banned. I would worry over any treaty that allows other nations sovereignty over what I can view or post, as many of my views on individual rights run counter to European governmental values (the freedom to own weapons that are effective against modern police and infantry, and to u

  • While it's not a huge effect (compared to say, space just being damn hard to do anything in), the Outer Space Treaty has helped hinder the expansion of humanity into space by prohibiting people from owning things in space. If an internet treaty were to have a similar effect, then that's not helpful.
  • The council of Europe has for example a treaty on cybercrime [] that the USA have ratified. So this treaty could be open to non-members too.

    So a treaty on Internet freedom for democracries is a very good idea, to avoid some democracies to fall on the dark side...
  • by SirAstral (1349985)

    Sad, Sad, Sad...

    A Treaty such as this would only accomplished exactly what it is pretending to prevent. Use your brain people!

    We already have the power to accomplish what this bill indicates, yet I hear no elected officials even remotely advancing ideas to that end. We only need to get the general ignorant population from voting in people with special interests... namely any candidate from any party! George Washington warned everyone about the evils of a party system in his farewell address, but 200 year

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      "You people forget how cunning a government is by making your believe that you are getting more with each bill signed into law, having only been taken!"

      I'm aware. However, what would you suggest be done? Leave it alone? That won't accomplish anything, either.

  • The difference between the internet and space is that only advanced western states have access to space. All states feel like they need to protect their own resources on the internet from hackers (mostly non-state actors), so they will want complete freedom when deciding how to do that. As soon as western countries believe that Al Qaeda (or whoever we are afraid of at the time) has any change of destroying their satellites, they will pull out of the Outer Space Treaty for the same reason.
  • FTA:

    The principle of net neutrality will be established in international law, ensuring that the network will not discriminate against the traffic that passes across it. Any discrimination will be left to the end points, the clients, for people to decide for themselves what they censor, what communications they will or will not countenance.


    It will also force governments to co-operate with one another to tackle the net's security vulnerabilities. It should force them to exchange data about security problems and work collaboratively to solve them and keep net criminals and military aggressors in their animal pens.

    Great step in the right direction, those are the two issues I wanted to see addressed. I hope it's strongly phrased so as to strictly prohibit government-sponsored attack vectors like DDoS et al, as it appears from the above paragraph that it's aimed at spammers and other profiteers, completely missing the military possibilities.

    As an FYI, here's the WikiPedia article on the Outer Space Treaty [].

  • ...but first, you're never going to legislate away nationally motivated cybercrime, so that's out.

    Second, as far as I can tell it was the Europeans who started getting all squirrelly about the 'nationalism' on the net when the US wouldn't do what they wanted.

    No country worth it's peoples' loyalty is going to voluntarily give its sovereignty to the UN, a non-democratic pack of calumnious backbiters or bored dilettantes, depending on who you're speaking about.

    Meh. It's the Internet. The US built it. If you

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Meh. It's the Internet. The US built it. If you don't like it or the rules it's operating under, build your own.

      Do you know what the Internet is? Please read [].
      The US built the current Internet in the same way that the guy who built the first road built all roads.

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The US built the current Internet in the same way that the guy who built the first road built all roads.

        That guy must be quite tired, there are a lot of roads these days!

    • by Cederic (9623)

      Meh. It's the Internet. The US built it. If you don't like it or the rules it's operating under, build your own.

      We did. We added a new protocol too - you may have encountered it, it goes by the catchy acronym HTTP.

      We're generous types: you can play too. Run along now...

It is masked but always present. I don't know who built to it. It came before the first kernel.