Russia has withdrawn its proposal to allow individual governments to clamp down on websites in their own countries. It had gathered support from countries including China, Sudan, Algeria, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, whose telecoms delegates have been in Dubai for the ITU conference this past week.
Although Jim Lewis of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies reckons "the Russians and Chinese overplayed their hand," the U.S.'s ambassador to the ITU conference, Terry Kramer, is being more cautious about the development. "These issues will continue to be on the table for the remainder of the conference," he told Reuters.
The nuances of Internet security and privacy are a difficult one for governments to negotiate, as the best exemplified by the U.K. With the Government currently attempting to hurry the Communications Data Bill onto the statute book, deputy PM Nick Clegg has said that he is in opposition to the law, which will give the police and intelligence agencies powers to monitor all email and Internet use, and will block it in order to keep "the balance between security and liberty."
[Image from Flickr user Pierre-Selim]