Home News&Events UN internet regulation treaty talks begin in Dubai

Monday23 October 2017

UN internet regulation treaty talks begin in Dubai

itu drtoure

A UN agency is trying to calm fears that the internet could be damaged by a conference it is hosting.

Government regulators from 193 countries are in Dubai to revise a wide-ranging communications treaty.

Google has warned the event threatened the "open internet", while the EU said the current system worked, adding: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

But the agency said action was needed to ensure investment in infrastructure to help more people access the net.

"The brutal truth is that the internet remains largely [the] rich world's privilege, " said Dr Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general of the UN's International Telecommunications Union, ahead of the meeting.

"ITU wants to change that."

Internet governance

The ITU traces its roots back to 1865, pre-dating the United Nations. Back then the focus was on telegrams, but over ensuing decades governments have extended its remit to other communications technologies.

It helped develop the standards that made sure different countries' telephone networks could talk to each other, and continues to allocate global radio spectrum and communication satellite orbits.

The current event - the World Conference on International Telecommunications (Wcit) - marks the first time it has overseen a major overhaul of telecommunication regulations since 1988.

The ITU says there is a need to reflect the "dramatically different" technologies that have become commonplace over the past 24 years.

But the US has said some of the proposals being put forward by other countries are "alarming".

"There have been proposals that have suggested that the ITU should enter the internet governance business," said Terry Kramer, the US's ambassador to Wcit, last week.

"There have been active recommendations that there be an invasive approach of governments in managing the internet, in managing the content that goes via the internet, what people are looking at, what they're saying.

"These fundamentally violate everything that we believe in in terms of democracy and opportunities for individuals, and we're going to vigorously oppose any proposals of that nature."

He added that he was specifically concerned by a proposal by Russia which said member states should have "equal rights to manage the internet" - a move he suggested would open the door to more censorship.

However - as a recent editorial in the Moscow Times pointed out - Russia has already been able to introduce a "black list" of banned sites without needing an international treaty

The ITU's leader is also playing down suggestions that Russian demands will see him gain powers currently wielded by US-based bodies such as the internet name regulator Icann.

"There is no need for the ITU to take over the internet governance," said Dr Toure following Mr Kramer's comments.

By Leo Kelion, BBC Technology reporter

For further information: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20575844

 

 

This site uses cookies to improve their services and experience of readers. If continue browsing we consider that you accept their use. Cookie Policy