US rejects proposals to regulate Internet

Russian-led proposals would create 'chilling environment' for Web

Tags: International Telecommunication UnionUnited Arab Emirates
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US rejects proposals to regulate Internet The US believes the ITU should focus on telecoms infrastructure.
By  Roger Field Published  December 11, 2012

The US has called on the ITU to focus on regulating the telecoms sector and not the Internet, at the organisation's ongoing 12-day conference in Dubai.

Speaking at the event on Saturday, Terry Kramer, ambassador, Department of State, USA, said that the US was "candidly disappointed" by a proposal co-signed by Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Sudan and the UAE, which called for regulation that would allow countries to block access to websites and take control of allotting Internet addresses.

Kramer appeared hopeful that the ITU would decide against formalising the proposal, which he said would diminish the "free and open" nature of the Internet.

"That proposal hasn't been formalised yet in terms of being accepted by the ITU for formal review. It will be interesting to see how that is handled," he said.

"We were surprised and disappointed candidly about what was included there because it fundamentally includes the Internet. It creates an open door for review of content and potential censorship. It will create a chilling environment for the Internet."

He added that the Web worked best when policed by multiple stakeholders, rather than just governments.

"If you look at the Internet space it is set and ripe for multi stake-holder governance. It works best when you have a variety of people that have the technical expertise, an ability to be agile in the way they look at issues, people that are global in nature. They just aren't governments by themselves but they are members of civil society and industry. That dynamic nature of multi stakeholder organisations is fit for purpose for the Internet and ensuring success," he said.

Kramer added that Dr Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General, ITU, had "done a terrific job" in terms of clarifying what the conference should achieve. However, he added that "a variety of proposals" relating to the Internet had been submitted by other nations that led the conference off-track.

Kremer instead called for the conference to focus on issues directly related to telecoms, including the deployment of broadband infrastructure and international roaming.

"Let's all agree that advancing international telecoms services, advancing the networks that support broadband, transparency in mobile roaming. Let's focus on those things that matter most and if there are other issues around the Internet, let's find an acceptable place to discuss those. But let's not pollute this conference, let's not hijack this conference - we want to come out of this thing with success."

1712 days ago
Vinod Mehra

Internet is a free world and should remain so.

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