ITU discussions not going well for US/Internet

ITU discussions not going well for US/Internet

Summary: U.S. and Canadian policy suggestions have apparently been rejected by the International Telecommunications Union negotiators. Stay tuned.


UPDATE 8:24am: Someone who claims to be part of the U.S. delegation has reached out to me. I'm waiting to validate that person's involvement, and if I can validate, may have an update or clarification to this story.

UPDATE 9:07am: I'm told things might not be going as badly as Reuters reported. I have confirmed my correspondent, and I have offered the opportunity to print a statement on behalf of the delegation, if it's provided to me. I'm now waiting to see if such a statement is forthcoming.

UPDATE 2:03pm: We've received an official statement from the U.S. delegation, which supercedes the content of this article. Please read the link below.

Breaking news: U.S. Position on Foundational Issues at the WCIT

Previous discussion, now clearly out-of-date and inaccurate:

Well, it looks like the forces of oppression and darkness may be winning so far.

As we've covered before, the UN and International Telecommunications Union (ITU) are meeting secretly-ish in Dubai, and are trying to establish new and frankly unacceptable guidelines over how the Internet will operate in the future.

See Also: Take action before the UN, Russia, and China hijack the Internet
See Also: U.N. readies for protests on eve of secret Internet regulation treaty 
See Also: Don't let the UN steal the Internet

It's been very difficult getting much useful inside information on the potentially dastardly doings in Dubai, but apparently Reuters managed to get some intel from U.S. Ambassador Terry Kramer. This is one of those good-news-bad-news stories.

The good news is that the United States and Canada made a proposal to protect the Internet from restrictive and discriminatory international regulation. The bad news is that the proposal apparently fell on deaf ears.

Stay tuned. The future of the Internet as we know it may be at stake.

Topics: Security, Government, Privacy


David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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  • The question is...

    ...what, if anything, can the ITU do without the support of the U.S. and other western democracies? I doubt the treaty can be modified without the approval of all signatories.

    The objections of the "republic, not democracy" people are noted.
    John L. Ries
  • Microsoft is no longer the center of the computing world

    And the U.S. is no longer the center of the greater world. Big changes ahead on many fronts.

    P.S. David, you missed the very recent UN General Assembly vote on statehood (actually, a non-member observer state) for Palestine, including the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Over the strong objections of the U.S.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • I didn't miss that at all...

      I've been very curious about how that plays out. I haven't spent much time with the Middle East desk, so I'm not really comfortable commenting on events there at this time.
      David Gewirtz
  • Looking for clarification...

    I'm just curious David, is it possible that the ITU and foreign nations really dictate to the US how it uses it's own internet? How is that actually possible?
  • Who cares?

    Internet is essentially an network of private networks. All of these networks are independent. Nobody can dictate how they interconnect, including the US Government. Much less the greedy ex-telcos.y
    • You'd better care

      If it means the Internet effectively ends up being defacto segregated. It could end up like trying to play hopscotch (i.e. surf) in a minefield (pre or post-Apocalypto 'Net?)

      So if certain protagonists such as the UN, China & Russia want to go "Dark Ages" on the Internet as we know it, then we are basically thrown into a virtual, online, Cold War scenario.

      ... Blackhats versus Blackhats instead of KAOS vs Control or KGB vs CIA.

      You follow?
  • Well, I've said it before

    It is long overdue that the US gets to hell out of the UN, and evicts them from US soil! Without our money, let's see how long this worthless, irrelevant organization will last.