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    Can a Government force ICANN to ban some domains? | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 77 comments | Search Discussion
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    Re: Can a Government force ICANN to ban some domai
    by Richard_Henderson on Saturday August 31 2002, @04:55AM (#8845)
    User #3269 Info | http://www.atlarge.org/


    In the case of these websites, what law is being broken? And where? And does Spanish law have a right to tell an American organisation what to do? I don't think so!


    Surely, the activities of people IN Spain (viewing the Internet, writing for websites) is an internal matter for the legal processes there.


    But beyond Spain they have limited powers.


    Of course, nation states choose at what level they are going to intervene in censoring online material. For example, grotesque and brutal child-porn would obviously invite intervention on its perpetrators within most countries.


    But what about freedom of speech and the right to engage in political debate?


    Presumably the US Government either has - or is considering - granting itself greater powers to ban websites on its systems which contravene certain criteria (specific terrorist activities for instance?). In such case, presumably the Government of another country can request the removal of a site on those grounds, should the US Government at its discretion be willing to intervene.


    But it is a very dangerous area. One persons subversive is another persons freedom fighter. Would the dissidents in the old Soviet Union have been regarded as subversives or heroes?


    What about Chinese dissidents today?


    Would the Christians in the early Roman Empire have had their websites banned if they'd been online in those days?


    Is the IRA a group of freedom fighters or are they enemies of the state?


    I'm shortly planning to develop a site at Mugabe.info to invite open dialogue about Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. I'm interested in the right of open discussion and freedom of speech : I don't seek a partisan approach either in favour of Mugabe or against him.


    Personally, I favour this freedom of speech being afforded even to organisations I am opposed to.


    The most dangerous precedents for the future of the Internet include the claims of governments to censor what people may or may not access, and the claims of government to access the private mail and computers of citizens who legitimately demand some privacy.


    Therefore - notwithstanding the war on terror - I hope the US Govt and US courts would resist moves to "take down" these websites unless there was specific operational reference / incitement to terrorist activities.


    Holding a different opinion to somebody is not, in itself, a sufficient reason to ban their freedom of speech.


    As for ICANN : well, it refuses even to regulate its own registries or accredited registrars... how then, can we expect it to regulate the rest of the world!

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: Can a Government force ICANN to ban some domai
    by Richard_Henderson on Saturday August 31 2002, @04:03PM (#8861)
    User #3269 Info | http://www.atlarge.org/
    I understand perfectly clearly that it would be bizarre to endow ICANN with any powers over the internal struggles of other countries, when their own processes are undemocratic, disrespected and untrustworthy.


    I don't think it's realistic, obviously, for ICANN to regulate on political conflicts all over the world in any circumstances - no.


    I DO think it's realistic for ICANN to make registrar accreditation conditional on a Code of minimum Standards.


    That dimension of regulation and enforcement would benefit consumers in my view.


    Naturally those registrars who didn't want to accommodate minimum reasonable standards would be obliged to forego accreditation.


    If ICANN also extended more clearly defined "conditions" and "standards" to its Agreements with Registrars, and was resolved to enforce those standards, instead of standing wantonly by, then I believe that, too, would benefit consumers.


    Do you get that?

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: Can a Government force ICANN to ban some domai
    by Richard_Henderson on Sunday September 01 2002, @05:14AM (#8871)
    User #3269 Info | http://www.atlarge.org/
    What is the link? And what is the significance you are trying to draw attention to?
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: Can a Government force ICANN to ban some domai
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Sunday September 01 2002, @06:38AM (#8872)
    User #2810 Info
    So Ken Stubbs nominated Scott Hemphill to the ineffective (also see my comment on that thread) IRC. So what? Scott Hemphill was one of those who did participate. They were also partners in an unsuccessful application for .biz, though I fail to see what relevance any of this has to do with a domain from Spain falling mainly on ICANN (well, I tried). -g
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: batasuna=HB=EH=ETA has killed more 800 innocen
    by Richard_Henderson on Sunday September 01 2002, @01:59PM (#8891)
    User #3269 Info | http://www.atlarge.org/


    I have no trite or easy words to say in defence of the killing of the innocents. I would only add that this murder of the innocents also happened when the British Government bombed Dresden - should we ban UK government websites; every week to both Palestinian and Israeli innocents - should we ban Palestinian and Israeli websites; to the innocents who died in Vietnam - should the US Govt have their websites banned, or if they kill innocents in Iraq; in the North of Ireland, on both sides of the divide - should we ban Protestant and Catholic from having websites; in Chechenya - should we ban Russian websites; then there was Tienanmen Square - should we ban Chinese websites and save them the trouble of doing it themselves? And of course, the USA in September 2001 - more innocents, more lives devastated.


    In short, the killing of innocents is hateful all over the world. Even when we take up arms to protect the innocent, we can often end up devastating the innocent as well.


    So rather than ban all rival groups, I suggest we "study the opposition" and try to understand them through what they publish - the good, the bad and the ugly.


    Otherwise who's next? Homosexuals in Zimbabwe? Christian websites in an Islamic state? Dissidents in China?


    It's not next, is it? It's already happening. The desire to "control" and the desire to "censor" even what is private.


    Having worked as a prison warden, I know first hand what an unpleasant intrusive job it is to have to censor people's private mail home. And yet that's exactly what we may drift to within our various states.


    The Internet freedoms need to be defended vigorously, and the trouble is that if we start by banning some groups, we may end up banning many. It is a very dangerous precedent.


    Clearly depraved child porn, or snuff movies, or specific instructions to injure people have to be addressed. It is clear that the Spanish authorities have already taken a political decision within their own jurisdiction to ban Batasuna materials.


    Would you support the Russian government in suppressing Chechen materials in the same way?


    Minority opinions, minority views, minority causes can be attacked in any society.


    So can innocent people.


    In the end, I believe, freedom is strong enough to prevail in the struggle against hatred and ignorance, as long as we don't jettison freedom along the way, or reduce our own standards, and become, ourselves, the persecutors of the innocent.


    Richard

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
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