US aims to block bid to give UN control of Internet

Aug 01, 2012
The United States will oppose a bid to revise a global treaty to bring the Internet under UN control or to impose new taxes on Web traffic, the head of a US delegation said Wednesday.

The United States will oppose a bid to revise a global treaty to bring the Internet under UN control or to impose new taxes on Web traffic, the head of a US delegation said Wednesday.

The US will submit its formal proposal Friday for the December conference held by the , a UN agency which set global telecom rules, said Terry Kramer, the special envoy named for the talks.

Kramer reiterated Washington's position opposing proposals by Russia, China and others to expand the authority of the ITU to regulate the Internet.

"The Internet has grown precisely because it has not been micro-managed or owned by any government or multinational organization," Kramer told a forum sponsored by the Council.

"There is no Internet central office. Its openness and decentralization are its strengths."

US officials, lawmakers and technology leaders have expressed concern that the December conference to be held in Dubai could seek changes threatening the openness of the Internet and its so-called "multi-stakeholder" model.

Some in the US say the effort could give governments greater authority to filter or censor information.

Other proposals which may come up would call for taxes on , which critics say could hit US firms such as but also potentially curb the growth in Internet use.

The conference set for December 3-4 is aimed at updating a 1998 global telecom treaty. But some countries are using the event to press for a broadening of the scope of the UN agency.

Kramer said ITU Secretary General Hamadoun Toure has indicated he would be seeking a "consensus" approach rather than bringing each proposal up for a vote.

Because of this, Kramer said he'd would like to take off the table proposals which could be divisive or lead to a public split.

He said that "Europe has been a great partner and I hope they'll continue to show a common platform with us."

But he noted that the US delegation will hold talks ahead of the December conference to express its views in various places including in China, Russia, France and African nations.

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User comments : 9

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Burnerjack
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 01, 2012
Giving control of the Internet to the UN will permit the "77" group, being predominately Islamic countries, the ability to censor the Web, thus silencing any criticism of Islam. This is a VERY dangerous proposal indeed. Lets keep the Web FREE. CENSORSHIP OF ANY KIND IS DANGEROUS.
eric96
2.1 / 5 (9) Aug 01, 2012
Give control of the internet to the UN and the internet you know will cease to exist. The internet is a platform of expression and commerce. The US has respected this platform apart from unwarranted domain seizures. Everyone and every country can use this platform equally. This platform was invented in the United States of America. Btw, I am 100% Canadian. Control of Internet is quite simply too much power, and it is frightening to see this power belong to a group of politicians. After all, the only thing politicians do besides lie is bow to paying corporations (dangerous), or push some-kind of Agenda. The problem is, any kind of agenda would break the internet as we know it. It must remain sole property of the United States unless they decide to do something epically stupid.
Jeweller
2.7 / 5 (7) Aug 01, 2012
If the UN had control of the internet, it would be a catastrophe.
krundoloss
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 01, 2012
It seems to me that the internet was founded on a decentralized model, it does not need to be controlled. The internet gives us information instantly on a global scale. If someone controls that information flow, they are controlling human knowledge itself! We have grown to depend on the internet to just search and find just about anything that is in the realm of human knowledge. If that information is controlled, it would give too much power to whoever controls it. I also think that hackers would rebel and could cause problems. Not a good idea, freedom of information is the greatest gift the internet has given us. Remember in the 80's when you would either already know something or you could look it up in a book or an encyclopedia?
alfie_null
not rated yet Aug 02, 2012
... impose new taxes on Web traffic ...

Distinguished from other traffic? It will be routed around. A simple example: akin to FTP, but over ssl, connect over well known port 443 only to exchange a "data channel" port. Then the major portion of the transaction, again via ssl, on that data channel.

Probably doable with a simple proxy, if not via a browser addon.

I imagine one large side effect of this initiative, if enacted, will be to make sniffing traffic much more difficult.
LuckyExplorer
2 / 5 (4) Aug 02, 2012
"Some in the US say the effort could give governments greater authority to filter or censor information."

In contrary! - And that is the main and true fear:
The US could lose control.
Shifty0x88
4.3 / 5 (3) Aug 02, 2012
The Internet has grown precisely because it has not been micro-managed or owned by any government or multinational organization," Kramer told a forum sponsored by the Information Technology Industry Council. "There is no Internet central office. Its openness and decentralization are its strengths."

Thank god someone knows what they are talking about. Don't give control to the UN that would be disastrous!

The US does not have control LuckyExplorer, no one does, that is the point. Now I am sure the NSA can look in on that traffic, but they don't control it. And I am sure what is the NSA is doing is probably a lot less then what other countries are doing. (I'm talking about you the Middle East) Or perhaps England where you cannot move around without being on 100 cameras.
Burnerjack
5 / 5 (1) Aug 03, 2012
When a questionable action is proposed, I propose: question WHO proposed it and WHY. These are the most basic, yet most powerful questions which NEED to be answered.
SteveL
1 / 5 (2) Aug 05, 2012
I like the Internet just the way it is now thank you very much. I've never been very impressed with the success of anything the UN has had control over. They seem to cater to the worst sorts of despots and abusers. Consequently I simply don't trust the UN. The UN is a nice idea in a kum-by-ya world, but that's not the world we live in.