News / Science & Technology

China, Russia Seek Greater Control of Internet, US says

A man uses a computer at an internet cafe in central Beijing, China, Dec. 28, 2012.
A man uses a computer at an internet cafe in central Beijing, China, Dec. 28, 2012.
Reuters
China and Russia are buying increasingly powerful surveillance technologies to intercept communications and try to take control of the Internet, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday.

Alec Ross, the U.S. secretary of state's senior adviser for innovation, said new players such as Thailand and Ukraine would determine the future shape of the Internet by deciding whether to open up globally or operate more closed national "Intranets."

His comments further demonstrate the lack of agreement over how the Internet will be regulated after an attempt to establish a global governance policy collapsed last year.

"Many Middle Eastern countries, Russia, China and others I believe, are going to take an increasingly aggressive stand to try to control the Internet," Ross told a news briefing.

"In a world where countries like Russia, China and others are in a completely different place than the United States and when there is a completely different vision for how the Internet should be governed, then I think it's going to be very difficult to get to the point of resolution on some of these issues," he said.

Ross said China, Russia and others had bought surveillance technology, but lacked the limits required in the United States, where only a judge can order their use for a defined period.

"So part of what I see are billions and billions of dollars of investment going into the next generation of surveillance technologies going into these countries," he said.

The United States and China have been squaring off for months over the use of the Internet, each accusing the other of hacking into sensitive government websites.

The Obama administration is committed to defending Internet freedom, a "pillar of America's foreign policy priorities" which led it to reject the global treaty last year, Ross said.

The attempt to establish a worldwide policy for oversight of the Internet collapsed in Dubai in December after many Western countries said a compromise plan gave too much power to United Nations and other officials.

The United States and allies fought to keep the mandate of the International Telecommunication Union, a U.N. agency, from extending to oversight of the Internet, fearing it could lead to increased censorship and a dramatic reduction in anonymity.

Protesters from the Anonymous India group of hackers wear Guy Fawkes masks as they protest against laws they say gives the government control over censorship of internet usage in Mumbai, Jun. 9, 2012.Protesters from the Anonymous India group of hackers wear Guy Fawkes masks as they protest against laws they say gives the government control over censorship of internet usage in Mumbai, Jun. 9, 2012.
x
Protesters from the Anonymous India group of hackers wear Guy Fawkes masks as they protest against laws they say gives the government control over censorship of internet usage in Mumbai, Jun. 9, 2012.
Protesters from the Anonymous India group of hackers wear Guy Fawkes masks as they protest against laws they say gives the government control over censorship of internet usage in Mumbai, Jun. 9, 2012.
A bloc of countries led by Russia wanted language that could open the door to more regulation of cyberspace on issues from spam, security and the assignment of addresses to web pages.

However, Ross said some 30 new country players, rather than only the existing Internet giants, will take a decisive role in determining whether there is an open global Internet or a "patchwork of national Intranets."

"That's not going to just be decided by the very large countries like the United States, China and Russia, it is going to be increasingly decided by countries like Thailand, Ukraine and a great many others that are becoming newly networked themselves and are establishing the governance norms within their own telecommunications systems," he said.

Ross, who said he was leaving government to write a book and start a company, was speaking in Geneva where the United States honored six "Internet Freedom Fellows" working to overcome challenges in countries including Russia and Iran.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs