The International Telecommunications Unit (ITU) begins talks about the current global treaty and making revisions to how Web traffic travels from one country to another. Internet pioneer Vint Cerf stated his fears that changes could limit the flow of the internet around the world.

ITU talks could affect freedom of internet

July 5 2012, the UN Human Rights Council passed a landmark resolution that recognizes the right to freedom of expression online


193 government regulators will be meeting in Dubai to revise the current communications treaty. Google has taken the stand that this meeting could threaten the current status of an open internet.

The agency has insisted that it is concerned that more investment in new infrastructure is needed to allow more people to access the internet.  The secretary-general of the ITU believes that the internet is mainly a privilege of the rich countries and the goal of the ITU is to change that.

Who is the ITU?

The ITU is not a new organization; in fact, it dates back before the United Nations, which it operates under. It began in 1865 and focused on telegrams during that time.  Since then, it has expanded to many other communications technologies.

This event will be the first time the organization has attempted major update of the telecommunications regulations since 1988.  The current treaty is outdated since it does not reflect technologies that have become everyday in the last 24 years.


There is some concern over the proposals being submitted by some countries. Some have suggested that the ITU should take a more invasive approach to managing the internet, what people are seeing and saying online.  However, the US ambassador to Wcit, plans to oppose any proposals that support that idea. He is most concerned with a proposal from Russia that states that each member should manage the internet equally. The country has already created a list of banned sites.

ITU talks could affect freedom of internet

Charges for Streaming

Another issue up for discussion is concerning streaming of content. The European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association is lobbying for charges to firms that want to have video streamed and other content downloaded with high quality. Failure to pay could result in having poor image quality and other issues.

Google has voiced concerns that only governments are represented at this event and that people who build and use the web are not given a vote.


[Images via ipolitics & thetechjournal]