[Air-l] interesting article about net censorship in china

Paula pmg at gmx.co.uk
Thu Apr 21 09:29:56 PDT 2005

Thanks Danny, this is very useful, and I *am* interested in the refs! 
Think this is also germane to the recent debate on universalising values 
(which includes news values).


Danny Butt wrote:

>Hi Jeremy
>My point was simply that the geopolitical imaginary of "the Internet" and
>what's "interesting" about it depends a lot on where you sit. So, for
>example, if I had to guess a story about the Internet in China that would
>make its way into the US tech business press, I'd say "censorship" because
>this fits with the dominant narrative of Chinese politics that appears in
>publications like Red Herring. (Rather than China as home to the
>second-largest nation of users in the world, or the largest IPv6 network in
>the world). That's not saying that I don't think that the censorship isn't a
>valid concern for those working on these issues, but in an environment where
>there's so little discussion of East Asian use, its role as a "general news
>item" seems a bit gratuitous. Those bad Chinese, eh! Although, the story
>tells us, "new technologies may keep total censorship in China at bay". The
>good Internet, eh!
>On the other hand, outside of the U.S., UK, and Australia, very few
>researchers on internet governance would claim as you do that a) that the
>existing coordinating bodies adequately represent global interests or b) the
>relationship between internet governance bodies and the US government is
>"tenuous". To give an example, it is possible under the terms of reference
>of the MoU constituting the relationship between the Dept of Commerce and
>ICANN, for an entire international country code top level domain (such as
>.cn) to be removed from the root zone file on the demands of the U.S.
>government. This would effectively remove it from the Internet. No one
>seriously expects the US government to do that (but note, none of the
>"endpoints" have the ability to do that). Yet, you may be able to understand
>why many do not see that as being a viable state of affairs for a global
>medium. It may also be possible for us, extrapolating from the "censoring
>Chinese" story, to see how this situation might also play into certain
>common assumptions about the United States government's role in
>international affairs.
>>From US media sources Internet governance is overwhelmingly posited as a "UN
>grab for power over the Internet", rather than a serious issue with the
>potential to make or break the "global" nature of the Internet. I'm
>implicitly suggesting that a) this is a big deal, because it affects the
>entire net, not just a nation state, b) it's being decided right now, and
>there are many important documents awaiting comment and c) it's something
>that many researchers on this forum are well placed to affect, as most of
>this list reside in the nations seeking to maintain the patently unbalanced
>status quo.
>As a network of researchers in this medium we have 1) our own research
>interests, but also 2) a responsibility for the medium's development, that
>suggests we should be monitoring the issues/news of the day and developing
>understanding of them. It's good to share articles etc. outside of our own
>specialisms. But on the second point, I think we'd do well as researchers to
>take a critical perspective on who decides what counts as news and what our
>implication in the stories is.
>ps - anyone interested in the governance issues, as well as checking the
>wgig and internetgovernance.org papers, may also want to look at two
>excellent papers:
>Peake, Adam (2004) Internet governance and the  World Summit on the
>Information  Society (WSIS), Report for Association of Progressive
>Communications, http://rights.apc.org/documents/governance.pdf
>Drake, William. "Reframing Internet Governance Discourse: Fifteen Baseline
>On 4/20/05 9:34 PM, "jeremy hunsinger" <jhuns at vt.edu> wrote:
>>but... this has been covered in the news too...  at least the wgig for
>>wsis has been covered.  it is interesting.  but it is unclear what you
>>mean by 'running the internet'.  if you mean icann, which is the only
>>bit that really is tied to the u.s. government, though tenuously... I
>>hardly think that human readable domain names, which is pretty much all
>>they do, is 'running the internet'....  even if, for instance one
>>claims that icann is running the internet, under the ausipices of the
>>u.s. commerce, you would still be hard pressed to say it is a u.s.
>>organization, or non-representative of international interests(granted
>>though, only certain types of interests are represented well)  if you
>>mean ietf, iab, irtf, isoc, w3c... well those are all open
>>organizations with solid international credentials.
>>now do any of those organizations really run the internet?  or govern
>>it?  each does in some way, to some extent, but none does it entirely,
>>nor do the whole of them govern it entirely.  most of the internet is
>>governed by the endpoints, and those that profit from them,  which is
>>why censorship is important, because it shows precisely that fact,
>>that countries can govern the internet as well.
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