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

Survey Shows Business Executives and IT Leaders Disagree on Future of Enterprise Tech Investing

By: Peter Bernstein    4/27/2015

Perception can become reality, and this is not necessarily good news. This is particularly true during times of major change, which we are currently e…

Read More

Comcast-TWC Demise Points to Online Video's Ascendency

By: Tara Seals    4/27/2015

Comcast may have called off its $45 billion megamerger with Time Warner Cable, but the legacy of what that means for the FCC's policy for online video…

Read More

How Solar Investments Will Change in 2016

By: Anna Johansson    4/27/2015

The solar industry has been of particular interest to consumers, businesses, and technology developers over the course of the past decade or so. Solar…

Read More

Nevada: Silver State to Tech Center

By: Doug Mohney    4/24/2015

Silver was the primary mineral mined in Nevada when it was admitted to the union in 1864, earning it the slogan of "The Silver State." Times changed, …

Read More

Comcast, Telecoms Need to Clean Up Their Own Houses

By: Doug Mohney    4/24/2015

Big telecom mergers just don't fly these days, but it took Comcast 14 months and at least $237 million spent in 2014 to figure it out it couldn't buy …

Read More