U.S. Wary of Proposed Internet Changes to Be Discussed at UN's ITR Meeting in December

August 3, 2012 -

While some hay is being made over the United Nations' International Telecommunication Union meeting in Dubai in December, most believe it is much ado about nothing. The way the Internet is regulated internationally will face a review in December, but the United States is already pointing out a number of changes that it will absolutely not allow under any circumstances. The regulations under review are from 1988.

Currently the deeply technical side of the Internet is handled by a collection of non-profit organizations based in the United States, along with the ICANN domain naming system. Some countries like Russia have indicated that they would like to see the domain naming system come under greater governmental control, though it hasn't published any official proposals on the particulars yet. Some believe countries like Russia and China would like to have the power to censor content they deem inappropriate…

The U.S. is not keen on making drastic changes to the system, mostly because it works and it is currently free from government intervention. The U.S. position is that the Internet doesn't need any more regulations - particularly of an international nature - because it would put undue burdens on the international telecom sector.

In its initial proposal document, the U.S. stated: "The U.S. is concerned that proposals by some other governments could lead to greater regulatory burdens being placed on the international telecom sector, or perhaps even extended to the Internet sector - a result the U.S. would oppose."

The US Ambassador to the ITU Ambassador Kramer has also gone on record, stating that the U.S. will not allow any country to engage in forms of censorship - a big concern for a number of ITR member countries:

"We will not support any effort to broaden the scope of the ITRs to facilitate any censorship of content or blocking the free flow of information and ideas. The United States also believes that the existing multi-stakeholder institutions, incorporating industry and civil society, have functioned effectively and will continue to ensure the health and growth of the Internet and all of its benefits."

But all the talk of changes to the Internet's underbelly is just that: talk. Why? Because, in order to enact drastic changes to the current system, every member in the ITR would have to agree to it. There are 178 member nations in the ITR. The U.N. can't even agree on when to take lunch some days.

Source: BBC by way of TechRadar


 
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