Tuesday, December 11, 2012

ITU Internet Governance Talks Get Heated

Among the agenda items at the current ITU conference was a new treaty giving the ITU control over international Internet governance.  (See Friday's post for details).
  After delegates voted down a U.S.-backed proposal to limit the scope of the treaty Friday, it was announced that an accord had been reached among coalition of several Arab states, Russia, and others, on a proposed amendment that would give local states greater control over the Internet, increase their ability to censor content and monitor and track user's behaviors, and to close down portions of the net if they desire.  While the specific language of the proposed treaty remains secret (for now), leaks and earlier proposals are giving observers concern.
"All of the indicators we have so far is it's something that could be a clear effort to extend the treaty to cover Net governance," said policy counsel Emma Llanso of the nonprofit Center for Democracy & Technology, which draws funding from Google and other U.S. Internet companies.
"What we're seeing is governments putting forward their visions of the future of the Internet, and if we see a large group of governments form that sees an Internet a lot more locked down and controlled, that's a big concern."
   The U.S. ambassador to the conference has promised not to sign any treaty that increased the ability of other countries to control Internet development and functioning, but is finding some resistance from a number of democratic states who would like to see content producers and commercial Internet services (like Google, Facebook, etc.) fund at least some of the costs of Internet transmission.  (Currently, those are paid primarily by governments or Internet Service Providers (ISPs) - and are passed on to users).
  The rest of the week will see the conference break into small groups to hack out details and proposals prior to the full body reconvening next Monday.

Source -  Internet governance talks in jeopardy as Arab states, Russia allyTelecomEngine

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