Friday, November 30, 2012

Internet Freedom - Well done EU!

If you think that Internet brought revolution only to individuals (and maybe different businesses that market themselves over the Internet)  than you miss one important link, telecommunication companies. Before the Internet they were in charge of everything related to communication and they did whatever they wanted, in the supposed name of the customers. If they thought that something isn't good, then no matter what people wanted, they weren't getting it. And we shell not forget pricing, which generated huge revenues. But, after the tremendous success of the Internet, things drastically changed. For some of the underlying reasons you can read in my other post, but the key is that the control was given to users, not network (i.e. telecoms). Now, telecoms are what they should be: data carriers only.

All good, but the problem is that there are no huge profits in data transfer, at least not as it used to be and telecoms don't just sit and wait. And so, every now and then we hear of some brilliant idea coming from telecommunication industry by which they either try to bring back good old days, or they try to offer something that doesn't make sense. Just in case you didn't know, ATM was one such idea that, fortunately  was a big failure! Even more interesting is a comment on this blog post from a guy (or guys) that are trying to reimplement some protocols from mobile telephony. They criticize specifications produced by telecoms (and related industry) for introducing new things, not because they are necessary, but because they are patented and in that way allow manipulation!

But, these days there is one other "very interesting" idea. Probably not many people know that ITU is trying to introduce mechanisms in order to regulate the Internet. Fortunately, EU isn't approving that, along with US. I approve that wholeheartedly  and I can not describe how outraged I am when I think about telecoms and ITU!

But, it is probably enough to point who is proposing regulation and to be clear what real motives are. Also interesting are requirements by some countries that Google and other Internet providers would have to pay to them to be allowed to distribute content to their citizens. This is absurd, because who forces users to access Google?

And ITU is also something I really dislike, a lot! It is a bureaucratic institution that produces standards for telecommunications. It's a dinosaur of the past. If you, as a single person, want to propose something, or just take part in some activity, you first have to be member of some member state standardization body, which isn't free. Then, you have to be delegated as a representative to ITU, and only then you can take part in some activity. And now we come to the best part, specifications that were produced common purpose were quite pricey. Truth to be told, they are now distributing specifications free of charge, but if it weren't the Internet, we would still have to pay for them. Contrast that to IETF, where membership and participation is open to everyone who wants to participate. Also, all the specifications produced by IETF are available for free to anyone. Now, I'm not claiming that IETF is perfect, but I certainly do claim that IETF is much better than ITU.

And while I'm at ITU/IETF, it happened to me several years ago that I called our Ministry in order to ask for funding to visit IETF. Apparently, this particular Ministry was willing to do that, or so it was written on their Web pages. The only caveat was that it didn't include IETF for a simple reason it isn't so bureaucratic as ITU. To cut the story short, bureaucrat I talked with didn't understand what I was talking about, nor he was interested to find out. And it ended without a grant...

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scientist, consultant, security specialist, networking guy, system administrator, philosopher ;)

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