In December 2012 negotiators will come together in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) for the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT). Participants will address the issue of a global treaty that could ultimately determine how the Internet and telecoms are regulated.
The treaty will also affect how you and I use the Internet.
The International Telecommunication Union is hosting the conference of government officials from around the world. Those officials will discuss and shape the International Telecommunications Regulations.
The ITU website describes the organization’s makeup:
“An organization based on public-private partnership since its inception, ITU currently has a membership of 193 countries and over 700 private-sector entities and academic institutions. ITU is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and has twelve regional and area offices around the world.”
Leaders of the ITU are from Mali and China. Russia was a co-founder of the organization. The Daily Caller described the ITU as a “little known UN agency.”
The U.S. State Department is supposed to appoint a lead negotiator for the December meeting.
“[R]ussian Prime Minister Vladmir Putin announced in June 2011 that he and his allies sought to establish international control over the Internet.”
At present TDC described the Internet model as “a voluntary multi-stakeholder process, loosely governed through various U.S.-based nongovernmental international organizations.” Putin decided the TDC would be his preferred instrument in the Internet takeover.
The U.S. Senate held a hearing on the treaty, with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) saying, “Any place that bans certain terms from search should not be a leader in international Internet regulatory framework.”
The obvious problem with the aims of the treaty is a decline in freedom around the globe. There is no universal equivalent of the U.S. First Amendment limiting government power over freedom of expression, assembly and faith as well as specifiying the right of the people to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Many Americans do not realize the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is the broadest limitation on government in the world when it comes to specific individual rights.
The U.S. House will take up the issue the first week of June with a hearing scheduled for the Energy and Commerce Subcomittee on Communications and Technology.
Americans will likely not be comfortable with Russia and China running the Internet by UN proxy. Obviously personal freedoms will decline not only abroad but domestically if authoritarian regimes take over the Web. One example of the UN’s infringement on the First Amendment is Resolution 7/19 setting aside special status for a single religion.
Transparency is non-existent at the UN—an example is the Oil-for-Food scandal enabling millions of dollars to go to corrupt officials, none of whom were punished.
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(Commentary by Kay B. Day/May 26, 2012)