UN conference overwhelmed by Internet regulations battle

UN conference overwhelmed by Internet regulations battle

Summary: Opening today in Dubai, a U.N. conference will become the battle ground for opposing sides to argue over new Internet regulation proposals -- Google joins the fray.

SHARE:
5
Googles free open internet campaign un conference dubai

Today in Dubai, an 11-day meeting begins which may result in an Internet-regulation proposal standstill.

The U.N. conference will be centered on updating telecommunications codes, including global communications cooperation, but concerns are growing within a U.S. congregation that plans to oppose U.N. proposals which may impose further controls on Internet commerce and communication.

However, the 123-member strong U.S. congregation joins envoys from tech firms including Google and Microsoft, who express concern that potential security oversights could also be exploited by nations -- including Russia and China -- to justify the next step on the Internet control slippery slope. This, in turn, could result in website blocking and increased Internet monitoring powers. 

A message on Google's homepage relays this worry, stating "Love the free and open Internet? Tell the world's governments to keep it that way," complete with a link to Google's Free and Open Internet campaign. The page includes the Twitter hashtag #freeandopen, a link to an "Add you voice" section -- which has over one million sign-ups at the time of writing -- and the mission statement:

"A free and open world depends on a free and open Internet. Governments alone, working behind closed doors, should not direct its future. The billions of people around the globe who use the Internet should have a voice."

The AP reports that the U.N. International Telecommunications Union have tried to soothe these worries, saying that the "primary goal" of the meeting will be centered on cyber-security and expanding the Internet in developing countries, rather than imposing new sets of rules and regulations on Internet content.

The news agency says that over 900 new regulation changes have been proposed by 193 nations, covering topics including the Internet as a general concept, payment structures, fixed communications and mobile roaming charges.

For a change to be adopted, there has to be broad agreement between U.N. states, but the group is rendered powerless in forcing individual nations to change their Internet policies -- examples including prevention of the "Great firewall of China" and recent blackouts in Arab states. Last week, Syria was taken offline for several days, although the state deny that it was their doing, instead blaming "terrorists" for cutting a cable.

Topics: Censorship, Government

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

5 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Google couldn't care less about the open internet

    The only thing Google cares about is making cash while violating basic user privacy rights and polluting the web with numerous ads served by numerous useless sites made primarily to display those Google ads, while never disclosing how exactly are they using their mountains of data or how much of cross data mining their doing to profile their users.
    highrs
  • Goverment Internet

    I agree with this statement. Not only will this change the internet for individuals around the owrld. But Google will loose a ton of money, when useless sites are closed down or banned. I do not fully agree with the worlds goverments and I do not agree with Google either on a daily basis. We all think we have rights and this may be true for some. But when was the last time most of us have been invited to a U.N. conference to be heard or invited at all?

    There is a new internet in the works, that few know about and it uses the old UHF/VHF. Oops I said too much.
    Charlie Castle
  • UN's mandate needs to cramp down on intrusive commerces for users' rights

    Without blocking intrusive corporation integrated commercialism built-in on search tasks users publicly are publicly using, eventually the Internet would not be open and free anyway because regime monopoly can use their Internate standard bureaus and partnered private corporations to corner or shut down communities accessing the Internet. We support UN communities to cramp down on both of those intrusive and coercive practices used by governments and transnational telecom corporations, UN should mandate a free and public spectrum for education and medical emergencies and then another free and public spectrum for parcel and postal services globally.
    BeanCube
  • Cable cut and your out for 2 days?

    What kind of infrstructure do you have if a terrorist cuts ONE cable and your WHOLE country loses Internet?
    William_OP
    • Ummm ... that's not what happened.

      There are at least three cables that would have to have been cut at the same time for what happened to occur ... and two of them are, i think, underwater.
      fairportfan