Russia, China, Saudi Arabia Call For Worldwide DNS Restrictions

At the fraught UN-affiliated ITU conference, China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia proposed new controls to let countries easily block websites.

At the ongoing International Telecommunications Union conference in Dubai, bureaucrats from 193 countries are rewriting the obscure UN legislation that oversees how the Internet works. The conference turned into a three-way showdown between authoritarian states such as Russia and China, web giants such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon, and the United States. While the U.S. government seeks to keep the current status quo, authoritarian states hope to centralize control of the Internet in non-U.S. hands and make censorship easier; Facebook, Amazon, Yandex and other web giants are hoping that new proposals will be amenable towards greater (profit-generating) decentralization.

Yesterday, a surprise proposal was backed by Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia that would allow governments to block censored web locations entirely within their countries' borders. The proposal would also shift control of domain names away from American-based non-profit ICANN to the United Nations.

U.S. Ambassador Terry Kramer recently spoke about the proposed changes; Russia has been vocal about creating new controls for the Internet and recently introduced domain-blocking legislation aimed at child porn sites, pro-drug abuse sites, and web forums belonging to Russia's political opposition.

[Image: Flickr user Sugree]

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  • Jox

    Those bad and ugly 'authoritarian states' want to control the Internet (or at least take the control out of the hands of USA government). And on the other side, the good and noble government of USA wants to maintain the control over the Internet but not for bad purposes, only to fight for the freedom of the world and its own citizens (with things like the Patriot Act).  LOL!

  • Buddy Chung

    It's not going to work for the U.S. since we believe so much about the 1st amendment - Freedom of Speech!

  • justsayinghere

    It is totally unbelievable that internet is being discussed with the same seriousness as if we were talking about air space... Russia, China & South Arabia STILL believe in slavery & their evil intentions towards their own people is disgusting, the biggest way to communicate Limited by Governments that are only interested in leaving their people DUMB forever.