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[liberationtech] The US government has betrayed the Internet. We need to take it back

Eugen Leitl eugen at
Fri Sep 6 03:51:40 PDT 2013

----- Forwarded message from "John S. Quarterman" <jsqnanog at> -----

Date: Fri, 06 Sep 2013 06:47:26 -0400
From: "John S. Quarterman" <jsqnanog at>
To: sam at, "John S. Quarterman" <jsq at>, nanog at
Subject: Re: The US government has betrayed the Internet. We need to take it back

> On 2013-09-06 05:57, Roland Dobbins wrote:

> > There are no purely technical solutions to social ills.  Schneier of
> > all people should know this.

Schneier does know this, and explicitly said this.


Three, we can influence governance. I have resisted saying this up to now,
and I am saddened to say it, but the US has proved to be an unethical
steward of the internet. The UK is no better. The NSA's actions are
legitimizing the internet abuses by China, Russia, Iran and others. We
need to figure out new means of internet governance, ones that makes it
harder for powerful tech countries to monitor everything. For example,
we need to demand transparency, oversight, and accountability from our
governments and corporations.

Unfortunately, this is going play directly into the hands of totalitarian
governments that want to control their country's internet for even more
extreme forms of surveillance. We need to figure out how to prevent that,
too. We need to avoid the mistakes of the International Telecommunications
Union, which has become a forum to legitimize bad government behavior,
and create truly international governance that can't be dominated or
abused by any one country.

Generations from now, when people look back on these early decades of
the internet, I hope they will not be disappointed in us. We can ensure
that they don't only if each of us makes this a priority, and engages in
the debate. We have a moral duty to do this, and we have no time to lose.

Dismantling the surveillance state won't be easy. Has any country that
engaged in mass surveillance of its own citizens voluntarily given up
that capability? Has any mass surveillance country avoided becoming
totalitarian? Whatever happens, we're going to be breaking new ground.

Again, the politics of this is a bigger task than the engineering, but
the engineering is critical. We need to demand that real technologists
be involved in any key government decision making on these issues. We've
had enough of lawyers and politicians not fully understanding technology;
we need technologists at the table when we build tech policy.

To the engineers, I say this: we built the internet, and some of us have
helped to subvert it. Now, those of us who love liberty have to fix it.

----- End forwarded message -----
Eugen* Leitl <a href="">leitl</a>
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820
AC894EC5: 38A5 5F46 A4FF 59B8 336B  47EE F46E 3489 AC89 4EC5

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