U.N. plans to seize bigger role in Internet governance – seeks to pass control to oppressive governments

// November 28th, 2012 // Internet

United Nations (U.N.) ITU organizationThis weekend, the U.N. plans to seize a bigger role in Internet governance, one that would pass control of citizen’s Internet access to the nations’ governments, including oppressive governments such as Russia, China, and North Korea.  Strongly backed by China and Russia, the meeting and its proposals are being withheld from public view while the group is rumored to be preparing a public-relations strategy intended to stifle the sort of backlash that ultimately defeated SOPA, PIPA and CISPA. Some proposals in the final draft would allow for Internet access to be cut off more easily, threaten privacy, legitimize monitoring and blocking online traffic, impose new fees for accessing content, and allow for the controlled slow-down of Internet connection speeds.

According to Ziff Davis:

“The ITU is holding the World Conference on International Telecommunications from December 3-14 where countries will seek agreement about proposed revisions to the International Telecommunication Regulations (“ITR,” a legally binding international treaty signed by 178 countries) treaty in a bid to expand the ITU’s scope of power to oversee the Internet. It would push regulatory control of the Internet’s traffic and citizen access over to governments and away from organizations such as ICANN.”

Ziff Davis points out one particularly alarming section of the final draft.

“In WCTIleaks document TD-64, the language states that countries will be granted the right to suspend their citizens’ Internet access and telecom services partially or totally – and that “member states” have the right to prohibit the anonymizing of traffic, forcing any identifying information masked for privacy reasons be made duly available to law enforcement agencies.”

Violet Blue points out the alarming ties between the U.N.’s ITU body and Russia, hinting that something is not on the up-and-up with the U.N.’s proposal:

“Dr. Alexander Kushtuev, WCIT Workgroup Preparation Chairman and ITU Deputy Director-General, works for Russia’s largest national telecommunications operator, Rostelecom. In June 2011, Vladimir Putin met with Toure, where the then-Russian Prime Minister reminded the Secretary-General that Russia co-founded the ITU, and made a few headlines when Mr. Putin stated that Russia intends to actively participate in, establishing international control over the Internet using the monitoring and supervisory capabilities of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).”

Google has a Take Action page set up for opposition to the newly proposed rules.  You can voice your opposition here.

A copy of the leaked ITU final draft may be viewed here.

Sources: Ziff Davis, Google




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