As Jerry noted ten days ago, our little side project got some good press right after we launched it. I am delighted to report that the media love continues. On Saturday, WCITLeaks was covered by Talking Points Memo, and a Wall Street Journal article appeared online last night and in print this morning.
I think it’s great that both left- and right-of-center publications are covering WCIT and the threat to our online freedoms posed by international bureaucracy. But I worry that people will infer that since this is not a left vs. right issue, it must be a USA vs. the world issue. This is an unhelpful way to look at it.
This is an Internet users vs. their governments issue. Who benefits from increased ITU oversight of the Internet? Certainly not ordinary users in foreign countries, who would then be censored and spied upon by their governments with full international approval. The winners would be autocratic regimes, not their subjects. And let’s not pretend the US government is innocent on this score; it intercepts and records international Internet traffic all the time, and the SOPA/PIPA kerfuffle shows how much some interests, especially Big Content, want to use the government to censor the web.
The bottom line is that yes, the US should walk away from WCIT, but not because the Internet is our toy and we want to make the rules for the rest of the world. The US should walk away from WCIT as part of a repentant rejection of Internet policy under Bush and Obama, which has consistently carved out a greater role for the government online. I hope that the awareness we raise through WCITLeaks will not only highlight how foolish the US government is for playing the lose-lose game with the ITU, but how hypocritical it is for preaching net freedom while spying on, censoring, and regulating its own citizens online.