Superpowers draw up Versailles agreement on the internet

Big Content has convinced its puppet politicians in the US, UK and France to draw up a Versailles style agreement to tame the world wide wibble.

The Versailles Agreement, signed after World War One, was designed to check the power of Germany, but it proved so onerous that it effectively handed the nation to Hitler.

Now it seems that Big Content has ordered the US, UK, and France to the conference table to draw up some regulations that can “make the net more secure” oh, and “crack down on copyright infringers”.

One of the main movers and shakers behind getting internet regulation is  the UK’s Foreign Secretary William Hague. Since February, Hague has been banging on about how insecure the internet really is. He mentioned that “law and order” was coming in the form of an “international agreement about norms in cyberspace.”

With Hague’s ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory he named his Versailles “London International Cyber Conference”. Either he should have asked someone what the term “to cyber” means, or perhaps he just knew that it really would be virtually shagging the rest of the world.

The conference is to bring about Tory values of decency, family, and acceptable behaviour to the web. Apparently it will be  “bringing countries together to explore mechanisms for giving such standards real political and diplomatic weight.”

Hague has come up with seven points that he wants people to look at to form the basis of new internet laws.

The first is that the there is a need for governments to act proportionately in cyberspace and in accordance with national and international law.

Everyone needs to have the ability to access the Internet. Users need to show tolerance and respect for diversity of language, culture and ideas. The internet needs to remains open to innovation and the free flow of ideas, information, and expression, is the idea.

Punters need to be able to have some privacy, after all an Englishman’s computer is his castle, and intellectual property needs to be protected.

Everyone needs to be protected from online criminals and there needs to be a competitive environment which ensures a fair return on investment in network, services, and content.

Like many political points, the devil is in the detail. For example, how do you write a law which enforces tolerance? Hague’s points on free flow of ideas and privacy go against the clauses that Big Content wants on software piracy.

However, the vague Hague plan has found support from France and the United States.

President Nicolas Sarkozy is keen for the law because his “pop star” missus likes to get invited to the houses of movie stars. The United States is keen because most of its politicians get good campaign donations from Big Content.

In May the US issued a cybersecurity policy document of its own which even threatened military retaliation. That document was worded in such a way which meant that any hostile acts in cyberspace could face a military response.

In the past, Big Content has described piracy as a hostile act against US business, and that pirates were terrorists. Effectively the US could send drones against file sharers

Sarkozy has for years called for a “civilised internet” but has not had much luck convincing his own people. However, last month Sarkozy said that law and order and control would be coming to the internet.

He said that the Internet was not a parallel universe which is free of rules of law or ethics or of any of the fundamental principles that must govern and do govern the social lives of democratic states.

So far, his attempts to make the internet like the real world have resulted in a rap over the knuckles from the UN for abusing human rights.

Other magazines see things as looking bleak. But one thing the politicians do not understand is that for every move they make to impose their standards, and Big Content agenda on the internet, the web always has a cure. 

History says that Versailles style agreements tend to end badly for those who force them through.