Allow me to interpret this from the EU Commission for you

The mass surveillance carried out by the US National Security Agency means that governance of the internet has to be made more international and less dominated by America, the European Union’s executive has declared.

Setting out proposals on how the world wide web should function and be regulated, the European commission called for a shift away from the California-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann), which is subject to US law, is contracted by the US administration and is empowered to supervise how digital traffic operates.

“Recent revelations of large-scale surveillance have called into question the stewardship of the US when it comes to internet governance,” said the commission.

“Given the US-centric model of internet governance currently in place, it is necessary to broker a smooth transition to a more global model while at the same time protecting the underlying values of open multi-stakeholder governance …


This roughly
translates into:

Take some power off the bastard Americans and give it to us.

9 thoughts on “Allow me to interpret this from the EU Commission for you”

  1. you want to run something like the Internet? Fine, invent one, build it, set the standards and get your companies to invest in it without having their proceeds confiscated by the Kurajus Staet and then we’ll take. In the meantime stop whining – this level of control, like respect, is earnt rather than simply demanded, something the Federasts seem to have missed

  2. I’m not sure what “governance of the internet” has to do with NSA spying*. It’s not as if the NSA used any of the US-based governance mechanisms** to do any of this.

    * I’m amazed the fuss people are making over spy agencies spying. That’s what they are supposed to do … (US Constitution arguments notwithstanding.)

    ** RSA aren’t a governance mechanism.

  3. > I’m not sure what “governance of the internet” has to do with NSA spying*.

    Well, say you’re a Frenchmen using a computer in France to create French things that will only be used in France, but you’re using a software package that automatically creates backups to a cloud and at least one of that cloud’s servers are in the US. Then the NSA have legal and automatic access to everything on that server, even though there are international agreements in place governing the hoops the NSA would have to jump through to get your information in France, probably via the French authorities. Whatever one may think of the details, that’s clearly a governance issue.

    > I’m amazed the fuss people are making over spy agencies spying.

    I’m not, because I don’t think people are much — the media are, because apparently they’re fuckwits. The US constitutional issue was a big deal; the heads of the NSA lying to the congressional oversight committee was a big deal; Obama not giving a fuck about one of his agencies lying to its oversight committee was a big deal; and GCHQ using the NSA to bypass UK law was a big deal. But yes, since those first revelations it’s all descended into “OMG! OUR SPIES HAVE BEEN WATCHING FOREIGN HEADS OF STATE!” Well, yeah. Obviously. Duh.

  4. > you want to run something like the Internet? Fine, invent one, build it, set the standards and get your companies to invest in it without having their proceeds confiscated by the Kurajus Staet and then we’ll take.

    By this logic, Nokia could have built a backdoor into every mobile phone they built and allowed the Finnish Government to record everyone’s phonecalls for a decade or so, and that would be just fine. But it isn’t, because, when you sell something in a foreign territory, you agree to abide by that territory’s laws. No-one (reasonable) minded the Net being controlled by the US for years; the reason the argument has arisen is that the US have abused the power and are breaking (or actively enabling the breaking of) laws. We have data protection in the EU. If a US-run Net can’t cope with that, it’s not unreasonable for the EU to ask for the governing bodies to be made international.

    All that aside, your idea that the Net was entirely built by the US is obvious bollocks. The necessary standards have come from all over the place. A lot of the Net’s now mobile (in the developing world, it’s mostly mobile), and a lot of the mobile standards have come from Scandinavia. The only reason the Net’s even as important as it is is that an Englishman invented the Web.

  5. Whatever one may think of the details, that’s clearly a governance issue.

    No, it isn’t. Your understanding of the international legal environment is faulty (which isn’t a great surprise. I was part of a huge EU project just trying to get the differences enumerated for investigations crossing borders of EU member states.) If one of the servers is in the US then US law applies and, if you are French in France, you don’t get any of the constitutional protects that apply to US citizens in the US, foreigners in the US and then USians abroad, in descending order.

    Secondly, it isn’t a “governance issue”, as opposed to a legal one, in internet terms. These people are talking about IETF, IANA, ICANN*, ARIN** and the IEEE (and, to a lesser extent NIST) – the bodies that set the standards that the internet runs to and are, largely, US-based.

    * Yes, I know about alternate roots.

    ** Yes, I know about APNIC and RIPE.

  6. “Take some power off the bastard Americans and give it to us.“

    I’d rather see you guys develop a competitive alternative rather than share power with the EU. If the EU simply gets on the board then they will be amenable to being bought off. If they’re competitors then they’ll have incentive to respond to customer desires and will force *us* to do the same.

  7. I’m not sure what “governance of the internet” has to do with NSA spying*. It’s not as if the NSA used any of the US-based governance mechanisms** to do any of this.

    Agreed; the EU is using the NSA stories to wrestle for governance.

    * I’m amazed the fuss people are making over spy agencies spying. That’s what they are supposed to do … (US Constitution arguments notwithstanding.)

    ‘no-one’ minds targeted surveillance of people legitimately suspected of wrongdoing, the main “fuss” is about the indiscriminate surveillance of everyone, contrary to the US Constitution and approximately equivalent laws in Europe, with serious issues of accountability / oversight.

  8. > Your understanding of the international legal environment is faulty … If one of the servers is in the US then US law applies and, if you are French in France, you don’t get any of the constitutional protects that apply to US citizens in the US, foreigners in the US and then USians abroad, in descending order.

    Yes, yes, I know all that, but I think you’re missing the point, which is automatic cloud services and choice. Everyone was reasonably happy with the situation when one could choose to stick one’s stuff on a US server or a Brazilian server or wherever. What is happening now is that software is automatically placing copies of one’s work on US servers, without asking or informing users. There is a difference between putting your stuff in America and having your stuff taken and put in America, and that difference is not currently reflected in law, and some people might quite reasonably argue that it needs to be.

    > Secondly, it isn’t a “governance issue”, as opposed to a legal one, in internet terms.

    I don’t think you’re using the word “governance” in quite the same way as the Commission here. Or maybe you are. English isn’t all their first language. But whatever. I took them to be referring at least partly to who’s running things, not just the mechanisms used, and that’s what I was replying to.

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