re:The U.N. Threat to Internet Freedom FCC Commissioner McDowell gets this right. Having the U.N. become the worldwide regulator of the Internet would be a disaster.
And let's face it, strong-arm regimes are threatened by popular outcries for political freedom that are empowered by unfettered Internet connectivity. They have formed impressive coalitions, and their efforts have progressed significantly.
Today, however, Russia, China and their allies within the 193 member states of the ITU want to renegotiate the 1988 treaty to expand its reach into previously unregulated areas.
Reading even a partial list of proposals that could be codified into international law next December at a conference in Dubai is chilling:
Subject cyber security and data privacy to international control;
Allow foreign phone companies to charge fees for "international" Internet traffic, perhaps even on a "per-click" basis for certain Web destinations, with the goal of generating revenue for state-owned phone companies and government treasuries;
Impose unprecedented economic regulations such as mandates for rates, terms and conditions for currently unregulated traffic-swapping agreements known as "peering."
Pro-regulation forces are, thus far, much more energized and organized than those who favor the multi-stakeholder approach. Regulation proponents only need to secure a simple majority of the 193 member states to codify their radical and counterproductive agenda. Unlike the U.N. Security Council, no country can wield a veto in ITU proceedings. With this in mind, some estimate that approximately 90 countries could be supporting intergovernmental Net regulationa mere seven short of a majority.
The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, I'm from the government and I'm here to help.