In a recent article for the Guardian Evgeny Morozov is tripping around the questions whether the US or China and Russia are the greater danger for Internet freedom. Being only an artifical discussion, the more important debate should be how to secure Interent freedom independet from these actors.
Russia takes general a strong grip on their whole media, including the Internet, not just for reasons of internal affairs. Being pushed back by the US after the end of the cold war, they are working closely together with other BRIC states in opposing the US.
The fact that China is heavily restricting and filtering the Internet is nothing new. New is not even the struggles between the US and China in the tech area. The US is accusing China of embedding espionage parts in microchips and other products manufactured China. China just recently banned Windows 8 from all government computers for the same reason. Quite some reasons to work together with other emerging states like Brazil or Russia.
Finally, the US is trying to keep their domination on the Internet related structures and core services. Initatives like giving IANA more autonomy by stepping back from their “special” role are only drops in the bucket.
These are few of the reasons why the current international policy processes in the field of Internet Governance are stuck. Steps ahead were mainly made in more detailed modeling of the multi-stakeholder processes, not the topics itself. This is not just true for UN related processes like th IGF, but also for new initatives like NETmundial. Being organized at the first place in Brazil it was meant to discuss the topic of global surveillance in the context of the NSA leaks by Edward Snowden. At the end it was diluted by US interference and had even a weaker final statement than the previous anti-spying resolution at the UN.
All of this is unfortunatea and even sad for the sake of Internet freedom. Waiting for a quick solution in the near future is an illusion which only damages the cause. The defence of Internet freedom and rights are up to other countries working hand in hand with civil society. Looking at state like Iceland, Switzerland or Estonia who claim some credibilty in that field, seem a good start to go. Having a core group of countries securing Internet freedom others will join and every addional will create more pressure on the US, China and Russia.