United Nations Panel Votes To Take A More “Active” Role In Internet Governance

Photo via ITU

And of course by “governance” they mean suppression and control… CNet’s Declan McCullagh reports:

Delegates to a United Nations summit agreed today that a U.N. body should take a more “active” role in shaping the future of the Internet, a move that had been opposed by the United States and its allies that had warned of greater government control.

The agreement by delegates from the International Telecommunication Union’s 192 member nations, a majority of whom raised their placards in support of the language, took place after 1:30 a.m. local time in Dubai. It came after the head of the ITU, a U.N. agency, had promised not to hold votes on controversial topics, and appeared to take the U.S. and Europe by surprise.

Terry Kramer, head of the U.S. delegation, had said a few minutes earlier that: “We do not believe the focus of this conference should be on the Internet and we did not come to this conference in anticipation of a discussion on the Internet…We oppose this resolution.”

The early morning vote seemed to confirm the fears of civil liberty groups, which had warned in advance that many countries participating in the ITU process had less-than-favorable views toward freedom of expression and the traditionally free-wheeling Internet. Two-thirds of the world’s nations, for instance, according to Reporters Without Borders’ 2011 ratings, have significant “problems” with press freedom.

The Internet Society said in a statement after today’s vote that free speech protections “seem to have been largely struck from the treaty text.” The global nonprofit group added: “Contrary to assurances that this treaty is not about the Internet, the conference appears to have adopted, by majority, a resolution on the Internet.”

If this was typical U.N. nonsense it would be hardly worth noting, but as McCullagh points out, “the ITU summit, which ends Friday, is designed to rewrite the International Telecommunications Regulations, a multilateral treaty that governs international communications traffic. The treaty was established in 1988, when home computers used dial-up modems, the Internet was primarily a university network.”

A lot of the governments represented fear the Internet, as well they should, since their populations are free to get information on the Internet that’s not be sanitized by dictators, mullahs, and bureaucrats.

The U.S. will probably come out of this fine, but the vast majority of the world’s population is in danger of having their one lifeline to free information destroyed.

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