The End Of Internet Freedom? U.N. Opens Ten-Day Talks On Web Regulation

A hitherto quasi-anonymous part of the UN (that is, nevertheless, almost 150 years old) is attempting to redraw a quarter century-old communications treaty that opponents say will mark the end of the free Internet. The two-week conference in Dubai is led by the ITU, and will see telco regulators representing 193 different countries sit down and discuss the thorny subject of Internet regulation.

Google has already nailed its colors to the mast with a Free Internet blogpost and petition, with its chief Internet evangelist Vint Cerf adding to the clamor. Both the U.S. and EU are against the ITU's proposals, with EU digital commissioner Neelie Kroes tweeting "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Some of the ITU's members, however, feel differently, and would prefer their own governments to control their own Internet domains, rather than the U.S.-based ICANN. ITU head Dr. Hamadan Toure is not in favor of this, but does believe that cyber security, child safety online, and anti-spam regulations can only be managed by the ITU.

Add New Comment

6 Comments

  • - steward -

    "Some of the ITU's members, however, feel differently, and would prefer their own governments to control their own Internet domains, rather than the U.S.-based ICANN. ITU head Dr. Hamadan Toure is not in favor of this, but does believe that cyber security, child safety online, and anti-spam regulations can only be managed by the ITU."

    Which of course is backwards anyway.  Country domains are assigned by ICANN, but could just as easily be assigned by ITU; but most countries seem to be pleased - Tuvalu, for instance, conducts a very lucrative business with its country domain of .tv.

    Dr. Hamadan Toure wishes to overthrow municipal law (in international law, national laws are referred to as "municipal law") and bring things to the lowest denominator of freedom of speech.  For example, some European countries believe there is nothing wrong with children seeing naked people, but have a problem with children seeing violence.  In an ITU-dominated world, both of those would have to be barred from the Internet in the name of "child safety". To look at the ITU official biography of he who would control the world, see http://www.itu.int/en/osg/Page... .

  • AnonyÓðinn

    The internet was built on open standards. Proposals before the ITU are statist ~ and they not only simply "address" the internet, but propose to bring aspects of its governance within states (example, Russian Federation proposals / definitions) and / or within the ITU itself in part (refer to the ETNO proposal). Such proposals (whether adopted as principles or as regulations) are not only unacceptable from some obscure philosophical viewpoint, they also would be used as a justification to break the internet in countries adopted in, which is precisely what countries like Russia, Iran, and quietly, some people who you might not expect from the UK and the US are hoping for as well.  The Netherlands, an ITU member state, alerted us in June to the potential for abuse of of the ITU process and the possibility of ITRs being used to make TOR and virtual private networks (VPNS) illegal.  Thanks to the Netherlands, we were able to be aware of the problems of the ITU and investigate further.  What we found was, quite frankly, just worse and worse.  The ITU's agreement to invite press critical of it and to disclose some documents does not justify allowing the ITU nor member states to take on any aspects of internet governance.  For further information on solutions that are supported by thought leaders of the internet on this issue, please see http://odinn.cyberguerrilla.or... and http://edition.cnn.com/2012/11...    In addition, for further addition on what #Anonymous is doing in the meanwhile, please feel free to observe operations at: https://twitter.com/AnonIRC/st...

  • Tech Flashed

    Internet should be and must be free from all regulations . Its So Simple . 

  • Prokofy

    This story will be all over in 10 days, and the Internet will remain the same, because the US and other Western states will push back against Russia's big Internet grab via the ITU. And that might have been a lesson for why you need to have liberal democratic states that counter authoritarian illiberal states, but in fact, it isn't a sufficient lesson for Google, which would like to overthrow all states and live in a world free of even political parties, as Sergei Brin recently advocated, in which we just "like" stuff on a big social network like, oh, G+ -- helping Google to make ad dollars, of course.

    What's important to realize is that ICANN isn't without its problems, given the tilt against commerce on the web and against property rights among some of its leaders (anti-SOPA), and that the Internet Governance Forum, with its "progressive" engineers represents a set of problems of unfreedom all its own.

    The Internet is like water or electricity, it has to be open to a very wide variety of people and institutions to use. But like these resources, it is scarce and can be contested, and isn't entirely the utility that these real-life goods are.

    http://3dblogger.typepad.com/w...