Franz Schaefer on Mon, 29 Apr 2002 05:51:34 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Vinc Cerf: The Internet is for Everyone

> > (Can anyone help to decipher this document? The Internet is for
> > everyone. According to Vinc Cerf this is going to be the new ideology of
> > the Internet Society. One really wonders what the previous ideology then
> > was. The document then goes on and talks about staggering growth,
> > Internet access on other planets, the tremendous rise of e-commerce (as
> > if the dotcom crash did not happen). Cerf continues the old line of
> > accusing only governments while remaining silent over the rise of
> > corporate control over the Internet. Completely uncritically of what's
> > going on inside ICANN he calls for unconditional support of ICANN, etc.
> > Geert)

  the document is written as an RFC (request for comments). as most people
here probably know, all technical aspects are defined in this form. RFC
are the "standards" of the internet. (after they have been discussed and

  i assume that cerf wrote his memo in the form of an RFC in order to
appeal to techies like me. what he forgets is that techies usually are not
that stupid and most of us are not very happy with the load of neo-liberal
bullshit expressed in this RFC. anyway. here is my C.

  let us dissect the dialectic of the RFC3271 document first:

  cerf repeats his the title of the document "the internet is for
everyone" over and over again. a noble goal but what he fails is to define
what he means with "the internet". he pictures an internet that growth
exponentially. but into what kind of internet? does he mean a big shopping

  indirectly, from where he thinks that the freedom of the internet is
threatened and from where he thinks that the internet should grow we can
deduce what kind of internet (and what kind of world) he envisions:

  to quote from the document:

        "Internet is for everyone - but it won't be if legislation around
      the world creates a thicket of incompatible laws that hinder the
      growth of electronic commerce, stymie the protection of intellectual
      property, and stifle freedom of expression and the development of
      market economies."

  obviously this guy does not understand that "protection of intellectual
property" is one of the biggest threats to the freedom of the internet

  what about "market economies"?  while cerf seems to know that today
2/3 of the world live in poverty and he knows that the internet is not there
yet. to quote from the RFC:

   " is sobering to realize that only half of the Earth's population
   has ever made a telephone call."

  it is the "market economy" of today that is responsible for that
sobering fact. a market economy is not interested in bringing internet to
places where there is no money to make. a market economy is interested to
bring the internet to people who have money. and that are the people who
*already* have internet today. 

  interestingly this kind of neo-liberal ideology does not hesitate to brake
it's own "laws" and sanction freedom in order to destroy competing
ideologies. think about the trade restriction the USA imposes on cuba. in
the same way this market economy will be the first to limit growth and
freedom of the internet as soon as it threatens to limit their profits.
actually this is what it already does: see the DMCA. and it is done under
the premise of "protection of intellectual property".

  it seems cerf does not want to look like an asshole that only wants to
spread capitalism so he tries to point out some other uses of the internet.
e.g: democracy. quote from the RFC again:

        "The Internet can facilitate democratic practices in unexpected
      ways.  Did you know that proxy voting for stock shareholders is now
      commonly supported on the Internet?  Perhaps we can find additional
      ways in which to simplify and expand the voting franchise in other
      domains, including the political, as access to Internet increases."

  mister cerf's understanding of democracy is certainly limited. besides the
fact that he does not understand how capitalism is fundamentally opposed to
democracy, all he can associate with democracy is the word "voting". while
voting on the internet could be convenient the new quality that the internet
could bring into democracy is that it could solve the problem that only the
rich can afford to raise their voice in the media and in election campaigns.
with an internet where it does not cost you an arm and a leg to publish your
ideas the chances for the poor to have an equal voice are at least a little
bit better. again here the question of "intellectual property" is critical,
since it is the intellectual property laws that are used by conventional media
to have a stranglehold on information.

  all in all the piece from mister cerf is extremely poor. it is sad to know
that this man is the chief at such an important internet institution like
ICANN. maybe he just go back to working on technical details and stay out of

greetings from vienna, austria.

mond <>

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