What's really emerging from Dubai is the growing discomfort governments and corporations have with the popular Internet freedom movement. It's a movement of people who seek to determine their own digital destiny.
Internet freedom can nurture economic development as well as the development of democracy by encouraging political awareness. A vibrant, un-shackled Internet provides economic and political empowerment and opportunities.
The great firewall has not stopped Pakistanis from accessing their favorite websites. They now use proxy servers for that purpose. It would be better if the government wakes up to the changing realities of the cyber world. An outright banning does not do any good.
The US needs to be the model for online freedom not just for countries that want to restrict it, per se, but also seek to and impose new restrictions for many seemingly noble reasons to combat social ills.
Campaign strategists are always trying to predict the newest political demographic groups. For a long time, it was seniors. Lately there has been a lot of talk about "NASCAR dads." But the strongest untapped political factor these days is rarely mentioned -- the Internet.
Whether the issue of the day is copyright infringement or open Internet access, censorship or a trade agreement, what the U.S. and the rest of the world could most use is an Internet freedom platform on which to base their daily policy challenges.
September 1 is Knowledge Day in Russia, a big cultural holiday marking the beginning of the school year. Legislators prepared a special gift for the kids this year, introducing radical new ways to protect them from "detrimental information."
Those who have the time, inclination and money can afford reputation defenders and lawyers who can makeover their online personae. But what does this do for the democratic, free-for-all nature of the World Wide Web?
While the Internet has faced various threats in its young life, countries that appreciate the economic and societal benefits are waking up to the very real threat of international governmental control.
As long as elected officials view the Internet as source of danger and evil doing, the Internet has to use its growing power to keep them in check. That means that sometimes we will have to get beyond "no." No can't be the sole basis for a lasting movement that attains political power.
In December delegates from China, Russia, Brazil, India and other nations will come together at a conference in Dubai to push to give the U.N.'s International Telecommunication Union more control over Internet operations.
The Iranian government's consistent repressive policies towards netizens has increased two fold in recent years as the government continues to step up its program to monitor, censor and persecute dissidents.