May 29, 2012
In late 2011, representative from China, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan submitted a proposal called the International Code of Conduct for Information Security (ICCIS) to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that called for international consensus of a global set of rules and regulations that standardize information flow on the internet.
The ICCIS sets forth specific “principles of maintaining information and network security which cover the political, military, economic, social, cultural, technical and other aspects.”
The ICCIS mandates that countries not be allowed to use information and telecommunications technologies “to conduct hostile behaviors and acts of aggression or to threaten international peace and security and stress that countries have the rights and obligations to protect their information and cyberspace as well as key information and network infrastructure from threats, interference and sabotage attacks.”
Read the full text here .
Army General Keith Alexander, commander of the US Cyber Command (USCC) and director of the National Security Agency (NSA), does not support the UN’s International Telecommunication Union; citing that the US needs to independently protect their “critical networks” such as electrical power, banking, transportation and other “key elements of society”.
Alexander would like for individual nations to control and regulate their internet. Keith suggests using cloud technology by remote computer servers to mitigate cyber threats and monitor the activity of web users. He said: “These are things that you must do to secure your networks for government survivability.”
Alexander mentioned that the Congress is currently debating whether or not to mandate US firms be required to admit their knowledge of information concerning cyber-attacks.
“Here’s what concerns me: What we’re seeing is destructive [digital] payloads coming out, payloads that can make a blue screen of death, that can stop your operating system, your router or peripheral devices,” Alexander said.
The increase of cell phone and internet use has elevated the threat level, according to Alexander. He sees this technology in the hands of the general public as a lack of security of the years and would like to see more stringent controls put in place.
Shawn Henry, FBI executive assistant director for cyber-issues and a conference speaker would like to see the ability of the US government to identify anonymous cyber-attackers and called for “assurance” of telecommunications to control the internet by remote security. Henry stated: “The Internet was developed with protocols allowing for anonymity and there are legitimate reasons for wanting it that way. But for those critical uses of the Internet where intrusion is entirely unacceptable and we must be able to identify the users, market-driven factors may prompt the private sector to explore solutions and alternate architectures to meet those needs.”
Senator Marco Rubio affirmed that the State Department will assign a speaker to send to international talks with the UN in December of this year.
Rubio, who denounced the FCC for internet neutrality and then suddenly withdrew his support of the Protect IP Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Then admonished Senate Majority leader Harry Reid to bring SOPA and PIPA back to the Senate floor for re-discussion.
When speaking about China’s internet censoring practices, Rubio said: “Any place that bans certain terms from search should not be a leader in international Internet regulatory framework.” Rubio is absolutely hypocritical, believing that his support of internet regulatory laws is somehow different than China’s outright internet controls.
Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, has promoted the use of cell phone technology to “amplify” the US government’s ability to survey American and international citizens.
The UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is an agency of the UN that oversees the international regulation of long-distance calls and satellite orbits. Russia, who originally co-founded the ITU, supports it as an international cooperation on cybersecurity and internet matters.
Robert McDowell, Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) commissioner said back in 2011 that the ITU was an attempt by authoritarian regimes to reshape the internet as we know it.
McDowell supposed that this multi-stakeholders progression would be governed through non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
McDowell said: “The commission plays, actually, a supporting role as a sort of technical advisor to the State Department. The State Department takes the lead role on that. I understand that through both private and public information that the State Department will be announcing a head of the U.S. delegation, a head negotiator, probably next month sometime.
“This comes at a crucial time as some very crucial meetings are going to take place internationally later in June leading towards a treaty negotiation in Dubai this December,” said McDowell. “So it’s really of utmost importance that the United States cultivates allies throughout the world and especially the developing world, which could be devastated by international regulation of Internet governance.”
Scott Cleland, a member of the United States Department of State Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy (USDSACICIP), holds that the creation of “ITUnet” would essentially be an international alternative to the current internet that is totally controlled by global governance through supposed voluntary compliance, yet rules and regulations would be enforced by international law.
Cleland said: “Everything about the Internet is voluntary, and in order for this to work, countries would have to leave the Internet and join an ‘ITUnet’. Only authoritarian regimes and their allies want an ‘ITUnet’. That would provide political cover for them to take control of their national Internet.”
This argument of international versus US governmental control over the internet seems moot to Evgenvy Morozov , member of the think-tank the New American Foundation.
Morozov stated: “While Hillary Clinton likes to give speeches in which she fashions herself the world’s greatest defender of “Internet freedom,” the harsh reality is that her own government is its greatest enemy. Given the never-ending flow of draconian copyright and cybersecurity laws coming from Washington, this fact is getting harder and harder to conceal from the global public, who starts to wonder why American diplomats keep criticizing Russia or China but don’t say anything about the impressive online spying operation that the National Security Agency is building in Utah.”
Now, in response to the debates over UTI, the US Congress has approved HR 628 claims to support “preserve, enhance, and increase access to an open, global Internet.”
Congress has taken the position of thinking of themselves as an “advocate for the free flow of information, Internet freedom, and multi-stakeholder governance internationally.”
Yet our Congress has shown conflicting points of view when contending that they are a multi-stakeholder supporting global governance which is in direct opposition with promoting the free flow of information and internet freedom.
The Obama administration created the International Strategy for Cyberspace (ISC) which makes an international governance policy priority.
Obama’s desire to facilitate the US government’s push toward global engagement, the ISC encompasses a new vision for cyberspace.
By using economic prosperity dependent on revamping cyberspace, Obama places the need for over-reaching cybersecurity over the internet.
By militarizing the control over the web, Obama claims the internet as a “strategic national asset” malleable by the US government. Obama contended that protecting the internet will be a national security priority and that: “We will ensure that these networks are secure, trustworthy and resilient.”
“This is just the beginning of a conversation within governments, between governments, the private sector and beyond,” said Howard Schmidt, the White House cybersecurity coordinator.
According to HR 628:
“Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that if a resolution calling for endorsement of the proposed international code of conduct for information security or a resolution inconsistent with the principles above comes up for a vote in the United Nations General Assembly or other international organization, the Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations or the United States representative to such other international organization should oppose such a resolution.”
The UTI and HR 628 are evidences of the end of free flowing information that is protected by and for the people.
As governments place more stringent controls on the web, and the soon-to-be ratification of the UTI in December of this year, we can be assured that we will very quickly only have access to information that is approved by the UN.
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