Who says there’s no bipartisanship? Congress came together in the spirit of telling the U.N. to stuff it over their proposed treaties over the Internet. And, to be frank, Congress was right.
The first, and most galling, was the fact that a U.N. committee approved a standard for Internet eavesdropping proposed by that great lover of human freedom and free expression, the Chinese government. If you were wondering why they thought this was a great idea…
Because Y.2770 is confidential, many details remain opaque. But a document (PDF) posted by a Korean standards body describes how network operators will be able to identify “embedded digital watermarks in MP3 data,” discover “copyright protected audio content,” find “Jabber messages with Spanish text,” or “identify uploading BitTorrent users.” Jabber is also known as XMPP, an instant messaging protocol.
It’s worth noting that this isn’t enforceable, really, but the entire idea is flawed, from reasons upward. Why is policing music piracy the U.N.’s job? This is in addition to the U.N. having a closed door meeting about forcing American companies to pay “Internet tax”, an idea we’ve discussed before.
Some are calling this a U.N. attempt to take over the Internet, which isn’t true; it would be a set of rules countries could choose, or not, to follow. But what the U.N. is doing is potentially a mess. Part of the problem is that European networks want to treat Internet traffic as phone traffic, which is stupid for a litany of boring technical reasons, but the upshot is essentially they want American companies to give them free money, because apparently it is impossible to charge the customer a bit more for all this data they are demanding.
Similarly, yesterday’s Congressional rejection of the UN’s proposed rules is nothing more than symbolic, but it gets the point across: Charge the damn customer.