The Role of the UN in Regulating IP Communications

By Ashok Bindra October 01, 2012

On Monday, Forbes.com contributor Larry Downes reported that the UN’s telephone regulatory agency, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), has been trying to tell the Internet world that it is not trying to rewrite the rules of Internet governance. The upcoming World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) is thus reportedly not designed to take control of the Internet.

This report highlights a recent speech by ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré at Columbia University; “Contrary to some of the sensationalist claims in the press, WCIT is definitively not about taking control of the Internet or restricting people’s freedom of expression or freedom of speech,” he said.

But despite Touré’s reassurances, leading International Internet engineering groups have all been sounding alarm, according to Downes.

The International Internet Society, which coordinates virtual committees and task forces that maintain the Internet’s core protocols, has been especially vocal in its criticism of ITU maneuvering.  Similarly, wrote Downes, “ISOC has repeatedly urged the U.N. not to interfere with the continued innovation and evolution of telecommunications networks and the Internet.”

Similar concerns have also been expressed by the Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Recently, for example, the Senate passed its version of a joint resolution, condemning the UN’s governance efforts. The resolution urges the Department of State to emphasize the “consistent and unequivocal policy of the United States to promote a global Internet free from government control and preserve and advance the successful multi-stakeholder model that governs the Internet today.”


Image via Shutterstock

In the summer, the House passed the same resolution unanimously.

But the Internet world is not convinced that the UN is not trying to take control of the Web. The WCIT conference later this year in Dubai is expected to consider changes to the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITR), the leading multi-lateral treaty dealing with cross-border communications.

The report suggests ITU and its members are using the conference to consider what role, if any, ITU should play in regulating IP communications.

In his Columbia speech, Touré told the press, “The 1988 ITRs drove a harmonious market ecosystem for investment and innovation and the 2012 ITRs will do the same for the new and future growth of information and communications technologies around the globe.”




Edited by Braden Becker

TechZone360 Contributor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Verizon Needs Tough Love on Copper Policies

By: Doug Mohney    1/29/2015

New regulation on broadband and telecommunications providers is at top of mind here at ITEXPO. Jeff Pulver, founder and chief executive of pulver.com …

Read More

OTT Video Set to Top $6 Billion in 2019

By: Tara Seals    1/29/2015

When it comes to over-the-top (OTT) video, it has grown not only in developed regions but also in emerging markets, both as an alternative and complem…

Read More

Digium CEO: Businesses at Every Level Can Get Started with UCaaS

By: Allison Boccamazzo    1/29/2015

Digium CEO Danny Windham made one thing clear during his keynote presentation at ITEXPO 2015: Businesses of all kinds, at every developmental level, c…

Read More

When Gaming Isn't a Game: 3 Best Practices to Protect Your Hosting Service Against DDoS Attacks

By: Joe Eskew    1/28/2015

The unprecedented number of security breaches, hacks and DDoS attacks on gaming communities, software manufacturers and even Hollywood studios grew to…

Read More

No Hackers Took Down Facebook; Hour's Outage Mostly Internal

By: Steve Anderson    1/28/2015

Facebook released a statement not long after the outage had hit, revealing that the cause of the shutdown was not "...the result of a third-party atta…

Read More