strategy

Restricting internet access

Context:
Groups with various agendas are seeking ways to block access to websites that engage in a variety of activities, or to impose new Internet surveillance systems that can be used to impose liability on certain actions. There is now growing attention to the role of the DNS system and Internet protocol development as a system of control over Internet usage. For example, by controlling the allocation and mapping of domain names and IP numbers, it is possible to render a web page invisible and unfindable to most Internet addresses. There are also proposals for various Internet protocols that would enable new mechanisms for surveillance of Internet transmissions.

Because of their strategic importance, there are profound concerns over the future control over the resources to control DNS management. A number of groups with diverse interests and views are seeking mechanisms to limit the use of DNS management to narrow technical issues necessary for the operation of the Internet, and to prevent the system of DNS management from being used as an enforcement mechanism for government or private policy making.

Implementation:
Since the beginning of 2000 China has closed 127 Internet cafés in Shanghai in an effort to curb the spread of online information, which is threatening to mushroom out of control. A week after a clampdown to halt the spread of "state secrets" on the Internet, the authorities raided more than 200 premises, seizing computers and equipment, in what they said was a drive against unlicensed Internet operations. The Communist Party regards technology as potentially the biggest threat to its power and views with alarm the spread of "cyber" cafés and the use of the Internet by dissidents. Beijing introduced new regulations, making the operators of Internet bulletin boards, chat rooms and news groups responsible for any security breach. The regulations cover e-mail and have given the authorities a powerful weapon against the Internet, since China's definition of state secrets can encompass virtually any information not approved by the Government for publication.

Australia's Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association has been warned growth in the use of the Internet poses a threat to industry profits in a climate of growing environmental activism. United States Chamber of Commerce vice-president William Kovacs was commenting at the association's convention in Port Douglas. Mr Kovacs told delegates the biggest threat to plastics and chemicals, and perhaps all industry, is the ability for anyone to disseminate incorrect information cheaply to the entire world. He says the use of the Internet by extreme environmentalists and greater amounts of public disclosure law will create fear and allow the sabotage of industries. Mr Kovacs warns that when the tide changes against industry, industrialised nations will act like countries dominated by religious fundamentalists. (ABC Australia September 1998)< The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a non-profit organization incorporated in the State of California that is seeking broad control over resources and functions that are essential for the operation of the Internet. According to ICANN, this includes "responsibility for the IP address space allocation, protocol parameter assignment, domain name system management, and root server system management."

Counter Claim:
1. The records of ICANN should be open to the public, including financial records, and all ICANN contracts, and ICANN should be accountable to the public. The public should be given an annual opportunity to review and comment on the ICANN budget. The Budget of ICANN should be subject to review by the countries that provide the ICANN charter. Fees associated with domain registration should only be spent on activities essential to the management of the DNS system.
Subjects:
Internet
Restrictions
Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies