US not keen for UN to control internet regulation
3rd Aug 2012 | 11:13
ICANN and I will
The way the internet is regulated internationally is coming up for review and the US is keen to keep control on US soil.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will review and possibly revise regulations that have been in place since 1988 which, considering the internet then and the internet now, seems long overdue.
At the moment, a consortium of not-for-profit bodies based in the US oversee the technicalities of the internet, as well as the ICANN domain naming system – they operate away from the government despite being technically run by the department of Commerce.
But some countries are looking to ring the changes - Russia, for one, is keen to see the naming system come under greater governmental control (although not so openly keen that it has published its proposals officially).
Nobody likes change
The American concern is that more regulation means more work. In its initial proposal document, it stated: "The U.S. is concerned that proposals by some other governments could lead to greater regulatory burdens being placed on the international telecom sector, or perhaps even extended to the Internet sector - a result the U.S. would oppose."
It also expressed concern that certain member states would try and bring in some kind of web censorship. The US Ambassador to the ITU, Ambassador Kramer, was emphatic in his statement that, "We will not support any effort to broaden the scope of the ITRs to facilitate any censorship of content or blocking the free flow of information and ideas."
"The United States also believes that the existing multi-stakeholder institutions, incorporating industry and civil society, have functioned effectively and will continue to ensure the health and growth of the Internet and all of its benefits."
But any changes in the system will require unanimous support from all 178 nations involved, so it doesn't seem likely that any changes will actually pass when the great big get together happens in Dubai in December.
From the BBC