Proof that the UN Does Not Want to Control Your Internet

As I wrote earlier this week, there are some serious misperceptions about a UN agency called the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Specifically, there is worry in some quarters that the ITU is making a move to gain regulatory control over the Internet when its member states meet for a big conference in December.

I previously explained why this is total non-sense.  I used basic logic and my knowlegde of how the United Nations works to deduce that there is no chance that UN member states would turn over Internet control to the UN.  Treaties along those lines require consensus among all member states. A proposal that controversial would simply never fly.

But today, thanks to a document leaked to the Internet Governance Project, we have actual physical proof that there is no surreptitious plot afoot to give the ITU regulatory authority over the Internet. The document is the most recent working draft of the treaty that will be negotiated at the World Conference on International Telecommunications in Dubai in December.

This document provides an update to a 1988 treaty, parts of which have been rendered obsolete by technological advances.  The outcome of that treaty conference has been the source of consternation among people who worry that it will be used as a pretext to give the ITU (and therefore the UN) control over the Internet.

However, if you read the document, you will find no such proposals! What you will see are proposals for things like giving priority to emergency communications and transparency in pricing schemes for mobile data. For example:

Members States shall ensure transparency of end-user prices, in particular to avoid unreasonable or surprising bills for international services (e.g mobile roaming and data roaming).

It is a pretty banal document that provides a commonsense roadmap for international cooperation in the telecoms sector in the 21st century.  What it does not contain are any suggestions to grant the ITU control over the Internet.  This is not to say that at some point in the future such proposals can not be inserted by member states. But the prospects of anything like that passing the conference in Dubai are nil.

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