UN’s Secret Internet Regulation Meeting


The telecommunications arm of the United Nations, the International Telecommunications Union, is holding the World Conference on International Telecommunications in December, and leaked documents about the closed-doors meetings have Internet freedom advocates, Anonymous, and companies like Google worried.

The site WCITLeaks, created by researchers at George Mason University, have been posting a steady stream of damning  that show more oppressive countries — China and Russia, namely — are pushing for a more restrictive Internet. The first step of which is to take control of the Internet’s traffic away from organizations such as ICANN, which is right now responsible for the coordination of Internet Protocol (IP Addresses).

As far as what I consider “damning,” there is an article in the International Telecomunications Regulations document titled “Suspension of Services.” The latest draft, which is believed to be close to final, says:

Each Member State reserves the right to suspend the international telecommunication service, either generally or only for certain relations and/or for certain kinds of correspondence, outgoing, incoming or in transit, provided that it immediately notifies such action to each of the other Member States through the Secretary-General.

There’re also moves by telecommunications companies to get in on the action. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, since the ITU’s Deputy Director-General works for Rostelecom, Russia’s largest Telco. 

Fight For The Future and AccessNow, two influential groups that helped to destroy SOPA, have launched a website to illustrate the dangers of the ITU making decisions about Internet freedom with a complete lack of (willing) transparency.

For their parts, the United States and the European Parliament have confirmed their opposition to this move by the UN to bring Internet regulation more under their purview, which makes total sense, since they were the ones that built and currently maintain the damn thing.

Question: Has the ITU gone too far?