Prepare For Your Last Hours of Internet Freedom

In Dubai are the participants at the World Teleconference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), member of the United Nations  Development Group, getting ready to vote on the highly controversial issue if they are going to take control over the world’s internet, or not. The conference have been going on for a week, drawing remarkably little interest to itself. According to the few news reports, delegates from different countries are split in their view on the so-called “power grab”. But if I was going to make a bet, I would say that you probably should prepare yourself for your last hours of internet freedom.

“We are concerned that this document as currently drafted is inadequate to deal with those significant issues that will be coming up in those future fora.”

 US  ITU Representative

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Fears that the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will award itself a role in governance of the Internet, despite the promises of its Secretary-General, are looming large on the last day of the World Teleconference on International Telecommunications (WCIT). At the end of a confusing and fast-paced day of discussions yesterday, the issue that has haunted for the conference for the past six months finally exploded into the open.

The key issue is the proposal for a new resolution, put forward by Russia with strong backing from most Middle East countries. that the ITU will  “play an active and constructive role” in deciding the evolution of the global communications network.

In a non-bullshit-language that is the same as taking on the role as the global internet regulator.

You can study the proposal here.

News.dot.net.com reports that the resolution met strong resistance from the United States and Europe, yesterday, who argued repeatedly that Internet governance has no role in the telecommunications regulations that the conference is revising.

wcit-non-voteIn response, a number of Arab and African countries argued forcefully for its introduction.

Last night the UAE conference chair, Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, asked for “the feel of the room” about whether the resolution should be included. That led to government representatives raising the large yellow paddles they keep by their desk in favor and against the resolution.

To the surprise of many, when a majority of paddles went up for the resolution, the chair announced that “the majority agreed to adopt the resolution as amended”.

Last nights non-vote makes it increasingly possible that an official  vote will be called, despite the ITU’s cultural bias against it.

The conference is now entering its last day, with the debate about to overheat.

wcit-room-sif a real vote is not called for, then the minority views will prevail, since the lack of consensus will mean sticking to the status quo.

That gives the lead proponent of the resolution – Russia – good reasons to call for a vote. The Russian ITU representative  indicated in a session yesterday that Russia was prepared to do so.

And those countries who opposed to referring to the Internet in the renegotiated treaty – the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe – are in a weaker  position to negotiate on the crucial last day of conference, are facing a very real prospect of losing.

I guess we’ll know the result within the next 10 hours or so….

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– The International Telecommunication Union, originally founded as the International Telegraph Union, is a specialized agency of the United Nations which is responsible for information and communication technologies.

– The ITU coordinates the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promotes international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, works to improve telecommunication infrastructure in the developing world, and assists in the development and coordination of worldwide technical standards.

– ITU also organizes worldwide and regional exhibitions and forums, such as ITU TELECOM WORLD, bringing together representatives of government and the telecommunications and ICT industry to exchange ideas, knowledge and technology.

– The ITU is active in areas including broadband Internet, latest-generation wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, satellite-based meteorology, convergence in fixed-mobile phone, Internet access, data, voice, TV broadcasting, and next-generation networks.

– ITU is based in Geneva, Switzerland, is a member of the United Nations Development Group and its membership includes 193 Member States and around 700 Sector Members and Associates.

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Related:

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All Human Rights Reserved (h) 2012

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4 thoughts on “Prepare For Your Last Hours of Internet Freedom

  1. Pingback: Shifting boundaries of freedom on Internet « Law or Logic

  2. Pingback: [In the news] Confusion arises on future of Internet after split decision on UN treaty -gmanetwork.com « Human Rights Online Philippines

  3. Pingback: Battle over Internet: US web authority challenged « Talesfromthelou's Blog

  4. Pingback: UPDATE: UN Telecom Agency Humiliated – Internet Coup Avoided | Rational Arrogance

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