I have just been reading the first BBC article on the WCIT Conference in Dubai. Among other things this will witness the Third World countries seeking to get a “fair” share of the Internet revenues they generate. Given the current controversy regarding the unlevel fiscal and regulatory playing field between on-line retailers based outside the UK/EU and those based within we need to shout less and listen more.
In reading the comments beneath BBC article I was struck by their simplistic naivety. “The Internet was designed by the people for the people”. Rubbish. It was one of a number of communications protocols desgned by engineers for engineers. It took off because the ITU fouled up the standards for the successor to Telex (X25). Similarly the World Wide Web took off not because it was better than the alternatives on offer, but because CERN allowed Tim Berners Lee to make it available free to all comers and the user community (commercial as well as academic) therefore focussed on helping sort its orginal shortcoming rather than those of its competitors.
US patent trolls and copyright lawyers are now throttling the Internet Goose, not just stealing the Golden Eggs. Hence the momentum behind the ITU attempt to regain the control of the international communications standards that they exercised from 1865 (when they first agreed inter-operability codes for telegraphy) to 1965 (when they began to lose their way as technology change began to acelerate and the Cold War complicated co-operation).
I do hope we will have a better informed and constructive debate before those driving open (and royalty free) communications standards for an IPV6 world of ubiquitous global computing leave the “lawyer-bound West struggling in their wake.
So which is the bigger threat to the future health of the Internet: Government regulators or US IPR lawyers?
Time will tell.
I very much hope we can sail the future of the Internet safely between Scylla and Charybdis
P.S. “China is nation created by Engineers for Engineers. The United States is a nation created by Lawyers for Lawyers. Hence the reason they do not understand how each other operates. – Discuss”