Thursday, 23 August 2012


John Kampfer, Google’s new adviser on freedom of expression, writes in today’s Guardian and warns of covert machinations at ITU – The International Telecommunications Union, Geneva  – that could usher in intrusive Internet surveillance and censorship by repressive governments. His warnings should be taken seriously.

These cautionary warnings are reinforced by Jerry Brito, founder of WCIT-Leaks, who is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. (no relation to Julian Assange) publishes “secret” papers being discussed at ITU – by China, Russia, Uzbekistan, UK, USA and many others.

My direct experience from 1988 to 2000, of European based political co-operation for telecoms, was only good. I witnessed the European Union knitting 20 or 30 countries together, sweeping aside hundreds of national and corporate boundaries and local cartels, and enabling Joe Public to auto-dial from Reykjavik to Rome at low cost. Previously, calls from e.g. Lyons to Manchester had to be booked hours in advance via awkward operators, routed via New York, and cost a fortune.  The original Internet governing body is USA based ICANN that has freely authorised our Internet addresses for decades; making it open to all comers – even to evil world dictators.

However, bureaucrats and lunatics the world over are utterly determined to censor free speech and to impose their narrow or insane philosophies on us all. This month, UK politicians and civil-servants are hell bent on snooping on all the tele-communications of every citizen – and storing them indefinitely.  As the arch-bureaucrat Cardinal Richelieu said “Give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men and I will find something in them which will hang him”.

Governments and rules change and old files are unforgiving. How do you feel about globally enforced Sharia Law ruling the Internet?  

So what precautions can we take against the inevitable grinding oppression of bureaucratic control of our e-lives, as governments intercept satellites, cables, main-frames, routers and switches? It is NOW and immediately that the major commercial beneficiaries of internet technologies, some of them the richest companies ever created, should invent and commission the next internet, the free-internet, INTERNET-TWO. It needs to be wireless, cell organised, locally powered, truly networked with a million alternative loops for every blockade, and it needs to be repairable by nerds, anoraks and school kids. The countervailing forces of intelligent freedom are currently just as powerful as the sullen oppressive mad-bad institutions. It is now these free-agents and we must act. Bring on the electronic innovators and geniuses – before the world’s creativity is strangled by paranoid, hostile, anti-life surveillance and censorship, taking us into the Dark Ages of the 22nd Century.

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