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U.S. Seeks To Drop Internet From United Nations Telecoms Talks

Science & Tech  (tags: UnitedNations, unitednations, usa, world, humanrights, politics, 'HUMANRIGHTS!', 'CIVILLIBERTIES!', corruption, crime, freedoms, HumanRights, government, media, computers, computer, technology, society, tech, safety, NewTechnology, internet )

- 2017 days ago -
A U.S. and Canadian proposal to protect the Internet from new international regulation has failed to win prompt backing from other countries, setting up potentially tough negotiations to rewrite a telecom treaty.

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JL A (281)
Friday December 7, 2012, 4:58 pm
U.S. Seeks To Drop Internet From United Nations Telecoms Talks

Reuters | Posted: 12/04/2012 4:10 am EST Updated: 12/04/2012 4:56 pm EST

By Matt Smith and Joseph Menn

DUBAI/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A U.S. and Canadian proposal to protect the Internet from new international regulation has failed to win prompt backing from other countries, setting up potentially tough negotiations to rewrite a telecom treaty.

The idea, also supported by Europe, would limit the International Telecommunication Union's rules to only telecom operators and not Internet-based companies such as Google Inc and Facebook Inc.

That could reduce the prospective impact of efforts by other countries including Russia and some in the Middle East and Africa to obtain more powers to govern the Internet through the ITU, an arm of the United Nations. Those efforts, slated for discussion next week, could make Net anonymity - or the ability to remain anonymous online - more difficult to maintain and could bolster censorship, critics say.

"We want to make sure (the rewritten ITU treaty) stays focused squarely on the telecom sector," said U.S. Ambassador Terry Kramer. "We thought we should deal with that up-front."

Kramer had been hoping that a committee comprising representatives from six regional bodies would give quick approval to the American request on Tuesday. But that failed to happen.

An ITU spokesman said late on Tuesday that the talks were continuing and that the issue would only return to the main policy-making body on Friday.

About 150 nations are gathered in Dubai to renegotiate the ITU rules, which were last updated in 1988, before the Internet and mobile phones transformed communications.

The 12-day ITU conference, which began on Monday, largely pits revenue-seeking developing countries and authoritarian regimes that want more control over Internet content against U.S. policymakers and private Net companies that prefer the status quo.

The Internet has no central regulatory body, but various groups provide some oversight, such as ICANN, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that coordinates domain names and numeric Internet protocol addresses.

U.S. companies have led innovation on the Internet, and this stateside dominance is a worry for countries unaligned with the world's most powerful country.

The United States has also led in the development and use of destructive software in military operations that take advantage of anonymous Internet routing and security flaws.

Some of the proposals now being contested by the American and Canadian delegations are aimed at increasing security and reducing the effectiveness of such attacks, though the West and several rights groups argue that is a pretext for greater repression.

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré told Reuters last week that any major changes to the 1988 treaty would be adopted only with "consensus" approaching unanimity, but leaked documents show that managers at the 147-year-old body view a bad split as a strong possibility.

If that happens, debates over ratification could erupt in the United States, Europe and elsewhere.

(Reporting by Matt Smith in Dubai and Joseph Menn in San Francisco; editing by Matthew Lewis)

John B (185)
Friday December 7, 2012, 8:08 pm
Thanks J.L. for the post. Kudos to the government of Canada, the US and the EU. This is going to be a long and tough fight to keep the neutrality of the internet in place. Read and noted.

JL A (281)
Friday December 7, 2012, 9:37 pm
It is to their credit indeed John. You cannot currently send a star to John because you have done so within the last week.

Lois Jordan (63)
Saturday December 8, 2012, 3:16 pm
As I understand it, groups like the EFF and people like Assange have been working long and hard to keep the internet open and free from gov't intrusion & censorship worldwide. In massive protests of constraints like SOPA and PIPA, we've seen that the devil is in the details.

JL A (281)
Saturday December 8, 2012, 4:04 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Lois because you have done so within the last week.

Billie C (2)
Saturday December 8, 2012, 10:23 pm
we can't talk about freedom on the internet when our government is trying to have the right to copy and read everything we write on the web for "security" reasons.
obama is making sure he knows everybody that doesn't want him in office. he can lock us up with no trial, no lawyer and no visitors. now all he needs is the right to censor the internet.
we elected a snake.

reft h (66)
Saturday December 8, 2012, 11:00 pm
I think most people are not aware of what is going on. Thanks for the article.

g d c (0)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 8:44 am

Theodore Shayne (56)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 10:37 am
The PRC is a good example of what happens when government has the ability to curtail and suppress individual rights and freedoms. Russia just recently has flexed its muscles too. Do we expect other dictatorial regimes of other countries or those of developing nations to uphold individual rights and freedoms or follow the Chinese and Russian lead? The NET needs to remain neutral and freedom of speech must never be suppressed" in the interest of national security".

JL A (281)
Sunday December 9, 2012, 7:20 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Theodore because you have done so within the last week.
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