Media: Russia, China fight for control of the internet in Dubai - Want China Times

Marietje
Want China Times, 07.12.2012 At the World Conference on International Telecommunications held in Dubai on Dec. 3, countries including Russia, China, Brazil, India and Iran launched a campaign for control of the internet through revisions to the International Telecommunication Regulations, reports our sister newspaper China Times. The International Telecommunication Regulations is a treaty signed in 1988 at the World Administrative Telegraph and Telephone Conference (WATTC) in Melbourne. Under the agreement, the internet is currently controlled and managed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a nonprofit organization based in the United States. Since this arrangement provides the right to the users of the internet around the world to freedom of expression, the United States and other Western democracies wish to preserve the status quo on the matter and the agreement has not been changed since it was signed 24 years ago. Countries like Russia and China find this arrangement unfair to nations like themselves who find it inconvenient for their public to express criticism of the government. For this reason, Russia is hoping that control over the internet can be turned over from ICANN to the United Nations. With the support of countries including China, Brazil, India and Iran, Russia is calling for a revision of the International Telecommunication Regulations. Analysts consider such an arrangement will make it much easier for oppressive regimes to monitor the internet activities of their citizens. Marietje Schaake, a Dutch member of the European Parliament, said the right to freedom of opinion and expression will come under threat if the treaty is revised. While observers are concerned about a victory for authoritarian forces in their battle to censor the internet, most analysts believe that this outcome is extremely unlikely. Hamadoun Toure, the secretary-general of the UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said that the treaty will be revised only with the agreement of all 193 UN member states. The conference in Dubai will conclude on Dec. 14.