Russia, China, Tajikistan propose UN "code of conduct" for the 'Net

Posted in: Censorship at 21/09/2011 19:25

Quick show of hands: which four countries would you most trust to introduce a United Nations-backed "international code of conduct for information security" on the Internet? If your list included China, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, then you'll love the new code of conduct introduced at the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week.

The proposed code of conduct would be voluntary, but it is clearly aimed at staking out more ground for nation-states when it comes to the Internet. As the document's preamble states, "policy authority for Internet-related public issues is the sovereign right of States" -- not of the IETF, or of ICANN, or of a multistakeholder process that includes business and civil society.

Also see:

Russia and China Propose UN General Assembly Resolution on "Information Security" by Milton Mueller
On September 12 China, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan released a Resolution for the UN General Assembly [PDF] entitled "International code of conduct for information security." The resolution proposes a voluntary 12 point code of conduct based on "the need to prevent the potential use of information and communication technologies for purposes that are inconsistent with the objectives of maintaining international stability and security and may adversely affect the integrity of the infrastructure within States..." The Code seems to be intended to preserve and protect national sovereignty in information and communication. Its preambles are full of language taken from the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), such as the claim that "policy authority for Internet-related public issues is the sovereign right of States."

Among the pledges that states subscribing to the code would make is "Not to use information and communications technologies, including networks, to carry out hostile activities or acts of aggression, pose threats to international peace and security or proliferate information weapons or related technologies." That would be nice. Likewise, states would pledge "To cooperate in combating criminal and terrorist activities that use information and communications technologies, including networks." That would be nice, too.

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