"Obama handing The Peoples’ Internet to Communist China" -- headline in Canada Free Press, 30 September, reposted on the Book of Faces with relish by Robert Morningstar.
The utterly misinformed article under that headline claimed that on October 1st "control of the Internet" was handed to the United Nations International Telecommunications Union (ITU)-- an organization that is run by the Peoples Republic of China.
I guess that must count as what the Rational Wikipedia likes to call "Not Even Wrong"--meaning, a statement so totally unconnected with anything true that it isn't even possible to discuss it. As I'm sure most readers here already know, the contract between the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the US Department of Commerce lapsed, as had been planned for 18 years. All it means is that the US Govt will no longer have oversight of the Domain Name System (DNS) database. DNS will be curated, as it has been since 1998, by an expert international body. ICANN has no ability, or desire, to control content on the net. The change had the support of Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Verizon, organized as the Internet Governance Coalition (largely because they feared that, if this didn't happen, something worse would). The ITU has nothing to do with it, and is not an arm of Communist China in any case.
Robert Morningstar is not an expert on Internet policy or technical structure, in fact he appears to be remarkably ignorant on both topics. The sole reason he reposted that spectacularly false CFP article is that he thought he would score a political point. Candidate Trump, you see, is one of several American politicians who opposed the ending of ICANN's contract on First Amendment grounds. Morningstar has been frothing at the mouth over the US Presidential election all this year. ICANN itself released the following statement:
"The US government has never, and has never had the ability to, set the direction of the (ICANN) community’s policy development work based on First Amendment ideas ... The US government has no decreased role. Other governments have no increased role. There is simply no change to governmental involvement in policy development work in ICANN."
Mike Bara places his virtual foot in his twitter mouth
Another of this blog's regular targets, college dropout and world-famous author of unintended fiction Mike Bara, also got this event spectacularly wrong, and for similarly slimy political reasons. Yesterday he tweeted "The first thing that ICANN will block are all the videos showing Hillary using a teleprompter in the first debate."
Another superb example of not even wrong--and now I hate myself for allowing myself to be drawn into such crass stupidity as the secret teleprompter. Ugh.
Update 2 Oct:
A follow-up piece from Canada Free Press, dated 1 October, reported:
"As quickly as you could say Barry Soetoro the Internet was all but officially stamped ‘Made in China’ at midnight last night."The author of both these pieces of shit is Judi McLeod. Ms. McLeod hasn't, apparently, even now understood that the ITU is nothing to do with this story.
Obama’s handing off Internet to China Controlled UN ITU now a fait accompli CFP, 1 Oct
US hands internet control to ICANN C|Net, 1 Oct
Has the US just given away the internet? BBC News, 1 Oct
Y2K 2.0: Is the US government set to “give away the Internet” Saturday? Ars Technica, 30 Sept
Thanks to Chris L for sources
As a general rule, if the technology is more complicated than a bottle opener, Bara is likely to not understand it. The DNS system (the part that ICANN controls) just makes sure the correct web site name matches the correct ip address. That way grandma can visit her favorite knitting site without ending up at Hustler.com, and the rest of us don't have to memorize ip addresses.
The US has thereby gained plausible deniability. The NSA can now spy on US citizens over the Internet, because the US doesn't control it.
Theadora: You just don't get it, do you? Although the key technologies that make the net happen were developed in the USA, the whole point about it now is that it's a globally distributed... you know, network. The US hasn't been in control since it was a baby ARPANET. Lapse of the DoC/ICANN contract is completely irrelevant to the questions of content control and counter-intelligence.
ATS now has a thread on this topic.
Before the exPatRIOT Act, there was a multinational spy network called ECHELON. Because of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which prohibits US intelligence agencies from spying on American in the Untied States, the NSA used foreign intelligence operatives to spy on Americans, and then those foreign agencies would share the information with the NSA. The NSA was recently ordered to stop domestic surveillance, under the recent enactment of the Freedom Act. This is just one more attempt to wiggle out of Congressional control.
DNS servers have nothing to do with surveillance. When you type in something like "www.google.com" the DNS server matches the name to a real ip address and sends you there. Moving DNS outside of US control doesn't change how that works or make monitoring your online activities any easier.
That's correct--and it's a full time job keeping track of it all. New web addresses are generated every hour of every day, and people switch from one ISP to another all the time. It can take several days for all the DNS servers to get the latest updates, which is why new and transplanted web sites have to use a numeric IP address for a few days to a week.
Since the United States no longer is responsible for assigning domain names, irrespective of who actually does the heavy lifting, then Americans on the Internet are arguably not exempt from foreign surveillance by the NSA, under the Freedom Act, and the NSA thereby circumvents Congressional control. It may only be veneer, and still illegal, but it buys time pending judicial review; this will go to court.
Furthermore, the NSA can hack any computer of choice at any time, with or without the role to dole out handles. Not only that, but China has actually disrupted their entire national Internet on at least one occasion, by changing everybody's address, without telling them what it was changed to.
Theadora, you really are not well informed. The NSA has no role in "doling out handles," never has, never will. Maybe they can hack any computer at will, maybe not. You can't possibly KNOW that, you're just guessing.
Political propaganda from Theadora disallowed
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