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, Oh Verizon, Where Are You Going?

By: Doug Mohney    2/23/2017

Last June, Verizon closed a $4.4 billion deal to buy AOL. Executives said the acquisition would enable the company to layer AOL's advertising strength…

Read More

AMD: The Time For Ryzen Has Arrived

By: Rob Enderle    2/23/2017

They Ryzen part is a powerful alternative to Intel's offering, which will result in several new, more powerful, and affordable systems for those that …

Read More

Voice 2017 - Best of Times, Worst of Times

By: Doug Mohney    2/21/2017

Voice is in a unique position these days, judging from the conversations I've had over the past six weeks during CES and ITEXPO. Available quality is …

Read More

Needed: Better Location Tech for RideShare Services

By: Doug Mohney    2/21/2017

Uber, Lyft, and other ride services have pushed the bounds of location tech to the point of frustration for end-users, both drivers and customers alik…

Read More

Human Carrying Drones May Arrive in 2017

By: Rob Enderle    2/21/2017

There are a couple really big problems that will likely make human carrying drones more of a tourist attraction than a real solution for some time, bu…

Read More