Russians Enjoying Internet While They Can: Country Scraps Regulation Plan...For Now

By Allison Boccamazzo December 10, 2012

Unlike the U.S., Canada and Europe, which applaud the flourishing Internet and its thriving cyber community, not every region is so hunky dory with an open Internet presence – namely, Russia, China and many Arab states, which all desire to be in the upper echelon of decision-making when it comes to controlling the Internet.

The former three aren’t off the hook completely though, as they do desire to limit the new treaty’s scope to telecom companies, however, this can be seen as acceptable by many.

While a long-held effort has been collectively made so far by these governments on how to – or whether to – regular cyberspace, the latter countries are looking to achieve greater governmental control by pushing the treaty beyond its traditional limits of only telecom operators; or in other words, their Internet-loving citizens.

But now, Russia has backed out of its plans, as a Russia-led coalition today withdrew a proposal to give governments new powers over the Internet – a plan that was opposed by Western countries when trying to craft a new global telecom treaty.

This Russia-led proposal could have allowed countries to block some Internet locations and take greater control of the allocation of Internet address currently being overseen by the ICANN, a self-governing organization under contract to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Ultimately, it could have aroused some major change in these regions, and yet it decided not to.

"It looks like the Russians and Chinese overplayed their hand," American Cyber Security Expert of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Jim Lewis, explained.

While U.S. Ambassador Terry Kramer greeted the decision to withdraw with open arms, he did say “these issues will continue to be on the table for discussion in other forms during the remainder of the conference,” which is scheduled to end on Friday.

An anonymous Western delegate agrees, noting, “It may come down to the wire. There are a lot of other (similar) proposals so I don’t think this represents a substantial conclusion and could be just maneuvering.”

Countries including the U.S., Europe and Canada believe that over-regulating the Internet could negatively coincide with freedom of speech as well as will reduce online anonymity – something particularly favored among Internet users.

Regardless, Russia and its allies still insist that they need “new powers to fight cyber crime and protect networks,” as reported by Yahoo news.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

TechZone360 Web Editor

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