Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Net.control, climate politics and a defense of angels

Isn't it wonderful what goverments can do when they set their minds to it? The UK govenrment (Tory wing) are stumbling over their dif for net surveillance while the BRICK countries move once more to get the ITU to take over the running of the internet (ITU being a UN body is responsible to nation-states; but given the deregulation of telecoms is now also subject to the will of corporate members). For some details check New Scientist, the daring if clumsily named WCITleaks and internet governance consultants nxt who have published the restricted documents from the discussions. Avaaz have also started a petition, and there are more links from their site. So there is always the possibility of getting political movement when enough power is brokered through UN agencies. But what about issues where nation states don't want top change? The Doha meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change just broke up with almost nothing to show for istelf: a pitifully small fund, marked by foot-dragging in actual payments, for poor regions devastated by weather whose probabilities are reckoned to be increased through emissions from the welthy. And, er, that's about it. The Irish Times has a suitably downbeat account from one campaigner: “We lobby and campaign so hard to move things forward, but all we get are crumbs from the table.” Apparently more US citizens believe in the existence of angels than accept the reality of climate change. They may have something there. The internet may not be the engine of wisdom we once hoped it might be; but an internet censored by the Saudis will be an engine of stupidity. We might need some angels: our politicians are clearly failing at anythng useful, wise or good.