(05/21/12) Andrew Feinberg
Governments around the world are trying to use intellectual property and cybersecurity issues to control the Internet, says Google vice president and chief Internet evangelist Vint Cerf. "Political structures ... are often scared by the possibility that the general public might figure out that they don't want them in power," Cerf says. He speculates that the International Telecommunications Union will likely become the global Internet cop, and expects the group to try to lock in mandatory intellectual property protections as a backdoor for easy Web surveillance. The public should view even good-faith efforts at Internet policymaking skeptically because balancing freedom and security "isn't something that government alone is going to figure out," Cerf says. He is concerned about the U.S. Cybersecurity and Intelligence Protection Act passed by the House, because it does not offer enough limits on how information about cyberthreats would be used. Still, Cerf expresses optimism that resourceful engineers will find a way around hostile government attempts to restrict access.