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The United Nations Internet

Updated on December 2, 2012

Well, not yet. But, if the UN accomplishes its goal of regulating the Internet via the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), things could change. Did you really think the Internet will always be free?

The UN has 193 member countries that oppose a free, open, uncontrolled Internet. These countries want control to censor and tax that only a state agency can do. The big advocates are the usual: Iran, Russia, China and many Arab countries. These countries have been lobbying heavily the ITU in taking control over the Internet. The last treaty was in 1988 and a new one is due. There are meetings in Dubai with the ITU. If the UN did control the Internet, it would control 40,000 networks that interconnect 425,000 various routes in the world that deliver content to more than two billion people and growing- 500,000 new Internet users join daily!

The Internet has several nongovernmental agencies, such as Icann, which assigns Internet addresses and domain names; there is the international, Internet Society, comprised of engineers and developers.

Today, the Internet is self-regulating, which means no one needs permission to launch a website and no government can tell network operators how to do their job. The new ITU treaty under consideration as 200 pages. They want to adopt the long-distance telephone rule. They want a fee from the originating country. Thus, a US based website would pay a local network for each visitor from overseas, in other words, a tax. The countries supporting this hope their citizens will be cut off from the US websites. They also want allowing governments to monitor Internet traffic routed through or to their countries so they can eavesdrop or block (China is already doing this).

The ITU with the backing of the United Nations just may make the Internet no longer free. It was only a matter of time.


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    • swordsbane profile image

      William Grant 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      This could never happen. The worst that will happen is that the 193 countries will create their own 'internet's. Or the US will make it's own internet, and since so much business is done on the internet, that will seriously hurt everyone who pulls out.

      Business rules, and the internet has been free too long, long enough so that people EXPECT it to remain free, and since the smartest people on the internet aren't government employee's, governments have about as much chance of 'taking control' of the internet as a bird has of taking control of the sky.

      Needless to say, I'm not worried. It's been tried before. I don't see this as any different, and we're talking the UN here... the intergovernmental body that can't even coordinate sanctions effectively, or get people to go along with Human Rights resolutions. What chance do they have when the US government failed?