An Open Internet: A Tale Of Two Approaches
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User Rank: Apprentice
4/28/2012 | 12:21:41 PM
re: An Open Internet: A Tale Of Two Approaches
The US government disrupts, monitors, and tracks the communications of way more people than just its citizens. I am convinced that writing this comment will get sifted through by government entities and filed as another hit on my record. Although I do not disagree with the government's stand on Iran and Syria, making such decisions are nothing more than hypocrisy.
User Rank: Apprentice
4/27/2012 | 8:26:32 PM
re: An Open Internet: A Tale Of Two Approaches
I agree that taking a stand on the side of fairness and liberty counts for something, even if the specific effects on a specific country are not ideal. Having a firm policy view allows one to use other levers of soft power, including tariffs and other economic means. This sort of stand is also important in the realm of technological development -- what sorts of features / back doors / specifications which we require for our domestic development will set a pattern for best practices in the rest of the world. Of course there will be people who develop mal-ware or oppression-ware, but if the USA and EU set standards for the software they will buy, that will influence the market.
User Rank: Apprentice
4/27/2012 | 5:30:06 PM
re: An Open Internet: A Tale Of Two Approaches
Sanctions against malefactors are critical and they are happening particularly in Iran. In fact China has just aligned itself with the Iran oil embargo-for the moment at least while this move serves its own interests. But sanctions only work if a large pool of nations act in concert. That sounds like another good IDEA.

I don't think that what Obama has done is THE answer. I'm betting he doesn't either. For sure it'll "fail" if the results you are measuring are that China no longer arrests dissidents for blogging, etc., etc. That will not happen.

Metaphorically this is a blockade I suppose. Use that metaphor with caution though. There are no military expenditures. No lives on our side or others' are put in jeopardy. We can safely assume this risk; hopefully we'll be flexible enough to do a u-turn if it's counterproductive.

Whatever the measured success, I would sugest that posturing, taking a stand on the side of fairness, counts for something in the world. The internet has the potential to be the tool of 1984. We need to rally to the cause of preventing that.

Where I would quibble is that I want Obama to take the same stance against misuse of internet snooping in the U.S. The specter of Son of 9/11 was misused to stoke nationwide fear and gain support for measures that are contrary to the values of freedom that we claim to represent in the world. Re-calibrating some of these regulations would give a moral heft to our position that is lacking now. I've not seen Obama show leadership on that front. Still waiting.
User Rank: Apprentice
4/27/2012 | 12:56:58 PM
re: An Open Internet: A Tale Of Two Approaches
Apparently Obama doesn't have a complete pair. Tell me if this doesn't sound like China "track down dissidents or cut off their Internet access"? Happens all the time in that country.

So where are the sanctions on these tyrants? With Obama's other cojone - non-existent - is where.

Pure political bluster and nothing else.
User Rank: Strategist
4/26/2012 | 11:07:52 PM
re: An Open Internet: A Tale Of Two Approaches
So Obama took the old "blockade" approach (shades of Berlin or Cuba) which will probably end the same way, ineffective. The Aspen Institute took a more liberal approach - let's call it the flowers and organic approach of the 60's combined with a good dose of I'm ok, you're ok or win-win vision of utopia. A look at the EU 12 year's later should answer the question about attainability of such an enlarged concensus (although I can think of no better way to employ so many minds). If it is applied to Syria or Iran, why not China, do they not control internal media (not to mention how the US capital punishment is viewed)? Always back to that fluid concept called national interest.

With nothing really new then, my vote is for the old fashioned approach, a mix of humint and communications control (interception, site obscuration, SIGINT, etc.) to block what would be labelled the oppressor and favor the oppressed. However, going back briefly on the first sentence of the article, we should remember that a major industrial european nation until recently had as the Prime Minister (by that influence of the state press) an individual that owned or controlled a vast majority of the free press resources. Do we believe they had "free flow of information?"

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