Internet controls to be decided this week at WCIT


Internet controls to be decided this week at WCIT

Caroline Baldwin

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is hosting the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai this week. 

Two thousand government regulators from 193 countries are meeting to update the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs).

The WCIT conference will revise the telecoms treaty - which has not been updated since 1988 - to include regulations for the internet. However, member states fear the outcome of the conference could lead to centralised control of the internet by the UN.

The UN agency, ITU, denied claims it is trying to control the internet in September 2012. However, European MPs – along with the US and internet firm, Google – have continued to voice concerns, saying the UN should not be allowed to take control of the internet. This was in response to reports that Russia and its allies want control of key internet systems passed to the ITU, instead of US-based groups like Icann, which regulates the web address system.

The conference will cover aspects of the internet, including access, censorship, cyber security and financial policies.

According to the BBC and the Guardian, one concern relates to a proposed economic model to deliver web content. The US and EU have taken a position against the proposal which would mean that larger websites would have to pay a fee to send data along telecom operators’ networks.

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