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US to block any plan to give UN more control of the internet

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The US government plans to block international attempts to gain more legal power over the internet during December's World Conference on International Telecommunications in December of this year.

Ethernet / Internet (stock)
Ethernet / Internet (stock)

Another round in the decades-old battle for which entities are able to control and regulate key parts of the internet is gearing up for this December. While the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) is likely to feature a debate about the UN's role in these regulations, the US has signaled its intentions to oppose any such measure, as noted by Wired.

US head of WCIT delegations, Terry Kramer, has expressed some of the US' reservations on the issue. Firstly, he cites "greater regulatory burdens" that could slow online innovation. More importantly, he echoes the same concerns voiced by Vint Cerf earlier this month: that handing control of parts of the internet to states instead of the independent ICANN could lead to "censorship of content or blocking the free flow of information and ideas."

The rules that govern all this come from the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITR) treaty, which can only be changed with a unanimous vote by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The US government's Fast Facts sheet lays out the plan protect the ICANN and other domestic organizations from having their legal control of the internet modified by the ITR. Given that the US intends to block any changes, it's unlikely that we'll see any major upheavals in the basic structure of the internet.