United Nations Plans PR Offensive to Deal with Worldwide Protests of Proposed Internet Regulations

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the United Nations committee that oversees global telecommunications treaties and laws will meet in Dubai from December 3-14. The organization is already taking heat for some of the proposals it wants to push that seem to limit free speech and take control away from the independent organizations (based in the U.S.) that handle the everyday workings of the Internet.

The ITU is hoping to find agreement about proposed revisions to the International Telecommunication Regulations (a legally binding international treaty signed by 178 countries) treaty.

Critics of the secret negotiations of these changes to the ITR claim that the ITU wants to move regulatory control of the Internet's traffic and citizen access over to governments and away from independent organizations such as ICANN. The treaty aims to solidify Internet infrastructure, encourages broadband expansion and investment, and ensure the integrity of emergency communication protocols. It also seeks to have governments find some way to implement Internet tolls and taxes.

While these meetings and earlier negotiations have remained mostly secret, some documents have been leaked on the Internet by web site WCITleaks. WCITleaks was created by researchers at George Mason University, with the sole purpose of soliciting and sharing copies of leaked draft documents.

The leaked documents reveal that the revisions to the ITR would allow for governments to suspend their citizens' Internet access and telecom services partially or totally and that "member states" would have the right to prohibit the anonymizing of traffic. Interestingly enough, the ITU's plans have the strong backing of countries like Russia and China.

But the most interesting leak from the ITU reveals that it is very afraid that public protests could derail the goals it hopes to accomplish by scaring politics. The ITU has hired consultants to help them avoid the same global backlash that defeated SOPA, PIPA and CISPA. Fight for the Future, and Access Now are already gearing up for a fight with the ITU online.

You can read more about the ITU's goals and the Internet's growing dislike for what is going on in the U.N. on ZDNet.

Source: ZDNet


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