The UN Wants Complete Control Over The Internet And That Would Mean Unprecedented Censorship, Taxes And Surveillance

From http://endoftheamericandream.com/

One of the fastest ways to ruin the Internet would be to put the United Nations in charge of it.  Unfortunately, that is exactly what the United Nations wants.  The United Nations is now pushing very hard for complete control over the Internet. A proposal that has the support of China, Russia, India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Iran would give control of the Internet to the UN’s International Telecommunication Union.  This is perhaps the greatest threat to the free and open Internet that we have seen yet.  At a UN conference in Dubai this upcoming December, representatives from 193 nations will debate this proposal.  The United States and many European nations are firmly against this proposal, but it is unclear whether they have the votes to stop it.  Unlike the Security Council, there are no vetoes when it comes to ITU proceedings.  So the United States may not be able to stop governance of the Internet from being handed over to the United Nations.  The United States could opt out of any new treaty, but that would result in a “balkanized” Internet.  If the UN gains control over the Internet, you can expect a whole new era of censorship, taxes, and surveillance.  It would be absolutely catastrophic for the free flow of commerce and information around the globe.  Unfortunately, many repressive regimes are very dissatisfied with how the Internet is currently working and they desperately want to be able to use the power of the UN to tax, regulate and censor the Internet.  Needless to say, that would be a disaster.  International control over the Internet would be a complete and total nightmare and it must be resisted.

Top Internet experts are sounding the alarm bells about this proposal as well.  The following comes from a recent CNET article….

Vint Cerf, Google’s chief Internet evangelist, co-creator of the TCP/IP protocol, and former chairman of ICANN, said the ITU meeting could lead to “top-down control dictated by governments” that could impact free expression, security, and other important issues.

“The open Internet has never been at a higher risk than it is now,” Cerf said.

Sadly, the United States cannot block this from happening.  As an article by Robert M. McDowell explained, all it is going to take for this proposal to be accepted is for a simple majority of the 193 UN members states to agree to it….

Regulation proponents only need to secure a simple majority of the 193 member states to codify their radical and counterproductive agenda. Unlike the U.N. Security Council, no country can wield a veto in ITU proceedings.

Once the ITU gains control, the United States and other nations could attempt to “opt out”, but that would create a “balkanized” Internet that would be much different than what we have today.

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House to examine plan for United Nations to regulate the Internet [Thehill]

House lawmakers will consider an international proposal next week to give the United Nations more control over the Internet.

The proposal is backed by China, Russia, Brazil, India and other UN members, and would give the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) more control over the governance of the Internet.

It’s an unpopular idea with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in Congress, and officials with the Obama administration have also criticized it.

“We’re quite concerned,” Larry Strickling, the head of the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, said in an interview with The Hill earlier this year.

He said the measure would expose the Internet to “top-down regulation where it’s really the governments that are at the table, but the rest of the stakeholders aren’t.”

At a hearing earlier this month, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also criticized the proposal. He said China and Russia are “not exactly bastions of Internet freedom.”

“Any place that bans certain terms from search should not be a leader in international Internet regulatory frameworks,” he said, adding that he will keep a close eye on the process.

Yet the proposal could come up for a vote at a UN conference in Dubai in December.

 

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Spy-Butterfly: Israel developing insect drone for indoor surveillance [RT]

From RT.com

The future is here and this is not a butterfly on your wall, as Israeli drones are getting tiny. Their latest project – a butterfly-shaped drone weighing just 20 grams – the smallest in its range so far – can gather intelligence inside buildings.

The new miniscule surveillance device can take color pictures and is capable of a vertical take-off and hover flight, just like a helicopter, reports the daily Israel Hayom. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) says this may come in handy in ground clashes, when a soldier would merely take it out of a pocket and send behind the enemy’s line.

The insect-drone, with its 0.15-gram camera and memory card, is managed remotely with a special helmet. Putting on the helmet, you find yourself in the “butterfly’s cockpit” and virtually see what the butterfly sees – in real time.

The butterfly’s advantage is its ability to fly in an enclosed environment. There is no other aerial vehicle that can do that today,” Dubi Binyamini, head of IAI’s mini-robotics department, told Israel Hayom.

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Israeli "butterfly" UAV. Image courtesy: Israel Hayom (Image from http://www.israelhayom.co.il)

Oops! Air Force Drones Can Now (Accidentally) Spy on You [wired]

As long as the Air Force pinky-swears it didn’t mean to, its drone fleet can keep tabs on the movements of Americans, far from the battlefields of Afghanistan, Pakistan or Yemen. And it can hold data on them for 90 days — studying it to see if the people it accidentally spied upon are actually legitimate targets of domestic surveillance.

The Air Force, like the rest of the military and the CIA, isn’t supposed to conduct “nonconsensual surveillance” on Americans domestically, according to an Apr. 23 instruction from the flying service. But should the drones taking off over American soil accidentally keep their cameras rolling and their sensors engaged, well … that’s a different story.

Collected imagery may incidentally include US persons or private property without consent,” reads the instruction (.pdf), unearthed by the secrecy scholar Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists. That kind of “incidental” spying won’t be immediately purged, however. The Air Force has “a period not to exceed 90 days” to get rid of it — while it determines “whether that information may be collected under the provisions” of a Pentagon directive that authorizes limited domestic spying.

In other words, if an Air Force drone accidentally spies on an American citizen, the Air Force will have three months to figure out if it was legally allowed to put that person under surveillance in the first place.

 

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Concerns Dot Com: Inventor of the Web is worried about Facebook, Google, Apple and CISPA [RT]

He revolutionized the world by inventing the World Wide Web. Decades later, though, MIT professor Tim Berners-Lee is warning consumers of his creation against Google and Facebook, as well as the government’s attempts to censor the Internet.

 

British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France (AFP Photo/Philippe Desmazes)

 

In an interview published by the Guardian on Wednesday, Berners-Lee celebrates the marvels made possible by the Web but cautions users to be weary of what companies could be doing with thought-to-be-private info. While the Internet offers endless answers, solutions and opportunities for entertainment, the British-born professor warns that the companies that consumers invest their personal data into might not necessarily be their friend.

“My computer has a great understanding of my state of fitness, of the things I’m eating, of the places I’m at. My phone understands from being in my pocket how much exercise I’ve been getting and how many stairs I’ve been walking up and so on,” says the scientist.

As helpful as that could be, though, Berners-Lee says it has its downside.

“One of the issues of social networking silos is that they have the data and I don’t,” he explains. “There are no programs that I can run on my computer which allow me to use all the data in each of the social networking systems that I use plus all the data in my calendar plus in my running map site, plus the data in my little fitness gadget and so on to really provide an excellent support to me.”

Who is benefiting then? Companies like Facebook, Google and Apple, which are monopolizing not just the Internet, but their user’s information.

“It’s interesting that people throughout the existence of the web have been concerned about monopolies. They were concerned [about] Netscape having complete control over the browser market until suddenly they started worrying that Microsoft had complete control of the browser market. So I think one of the lessons is that things can change very rapidly,” he says.

Berners-Lee’s comments eerily mirror warnings made earlier in the week to the Guardian by Sergey Brin, the co-founder of search engine giant Google. Discussing the hold the company has over its users, Brin said in his interview that consumers are forced to “play by their rules,” which, he added, are “really restrictive.”

“The kind of environment that we developed Google in, the reason that we were able to develop a search engine is the Web was so open. Once you get too many rules, that will stifle innovation,” said Brin.

On his part, Berners-Lee says that as companies monopolize out way of receiving and delivering information, consumers are quickly becoming more and more vulnerable to be left at their mercy. In attacking Apple over how they attempt to force their customers into using their own applications, the professor says it should be up to the users to decide how they want to control their own devices.

“I should be able to pick which applications I use for managing my life, I should be able to pick which content I look at, and I should be able to pick which device I use, which company I use for supplying my internet, and I’d like those to be independent choices,” he says.

Berners-Lee adds that the Web has seen some monumental changes as it has developed since the 1980s. As people trust their personal and private information with companies that are big today, though, he cautions that they might someday be at the mercy of websites gone kaput.

“Before the web, Gopher [an early alternative to the world wide web] was taking over the whole internet, it seemed, very quickly. I remember in an internet engineering meeting, somebody remarked that it was incredible how quickly it was taking over. One of the wiser people said: ‘Well it’s funny, it’s amazing how quickly people on the internet can pick something up, but it’s also amazing how quickly they can drop it,’” he tells the Guardian.

“Whatever social site, wherever you put your data, you should make sure that you can get it back and get it back in a standard form. And in fact if I were you I would do that regularly, just like you back up your computer … maybe our grandchildren depending on which website we use may or may not be able to see our photos.”

That isn’t to say that the corporations invested in the Internet are the only parties to cause concern. As the US Congress tries to pass the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) under the guise of cybersecurity concerns, the founder of the Web tells the Guardian that the government is going to cause a major Internet collapse impacting the rest of the world.

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Surveillance culture

From BBC News

Email and web use ‘to be monitored’ under new laws

The government will be able to monitor the calls, emails, texts and website visits of everyone in the UK under new legislation set to be announced soon.

Internet firms will be required to give intelligence agency GCHQ access to communications on demand, in real time.

The Home Office says the move is key to tackling crime and terrorism, but civil liberties groups have criticised it.

Attempts by the last Labour government to take similar steps failed after huge opposition, including from the Tories.

A new law – which may be announced in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech in May – would not allow GCHQ to access the content of emails, calls or messages without a warrant.

But it would enable intelligence officers to identify who an individual or group is in contact with, how often and for how long.

‘Unprecedented step’
In a statement, the Home Office said action was needed to “maintain the continued availability of communications data as technology changes”.

“It is vital that police and security services are able to obtain communications data in certain circumstances to investigate serious crime and terrorism and to protect the public,” a spokesman said.

“As set out in the Strategic Defence and Security Review we will legislate as soon as parliamentary time allows to ensure that the use of communications data is compatible with the government’s approach to civil liberties.”

But Nick Pickles, director of the Big Brother Watch campaign group, called the move “an unprecedented step that will see Britain adopt the same kind of surveillance seen in China and Iran”.

“This is an absolute attack on privacy online and it is far from clear this will actually improve public safety, while adding significant costs to internet businesses,” he said.

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From news.com.au:

Facebook spies on personal text messages, report says

INTERNET giant Facebook is accessing smartphone users’ personal text messages, an investigation has revealed.

Facebook admitted reading text messages belonging to smartphone users who downloaded the social-networking app and said that it was accessing the data as part of a trial to launch its own messaging service, The (London) Sunday Times reported.

Other well-known companies accessing smartphone users’ personal data – such as text messages – include photo-sharing site Flickr, dating site Badoo and Yahoo Messenger, the paper said.

It claimed that some apps even allow companies to intercept phone calls – while others, such as YouTube, are capable of remotely accessing and operating users’ smartphone cameras to take photographs or videos at any time.

Security app My Remote Lock and the app Tennis Juggling Game were among smaller companies’ apps that may intercept users’ calls, the paper said.

Emma Draper, of the Privacy International campaign group, said, “Your personal information is a precious commodity, and companies will go to great lengths to get their hands on as much of it as possible.”

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