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

The International Telecommunications Union sees the Internet as a domain of the rich: Google says that its demands could bring the end of the free web.

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.

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My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.