Some governments want more control over the Internet via ITU

By EDRi · August 29, 2012

There has lately been controversy over proposals made by several
countries, such as Russia and China, to give more control over the
Internet to the UN International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

Key functions of the internet as naming, numbering, addressing and
identification are now carried out by ICANN, based in the US
independent IANA, and national and regional agencies. Presently, ITU
has some managing powers of the internet, such as promoting IPv6
awareness and coordinating international cybersecurity efforts. ITU’s
international telecommunications regulations (ITRS), a treaty dating
since 1988 (therefore before the existence of the web) are now under
discussions to be revised and therefore, several parties have made
proposals for the revision of the regulations. The Russian premier
Vladimir Putin said in a meeting with ITU chief Hamadoun Toure: “We are
thankful to you for the ideas that you have proposed for discussion. One
of them is establishing international control over the internet using
the monitoring and supervisory capabilities of the International
Telecommunication Union.”

In September 2011, countries like China, Russia, Tajikistan and
Uzbekistan, submitted a proposal to the UN general assembly for an
“international code of conduct for information security with the purpose
to set up government-led “international norms and rules standardising
the behaviour of countries concerning information and

In December 2012 in Dubai, ITU members will discuss, among other things,
the introduction of the internet into ITU existing regulatory framework.
Although the preparation of the meeting is kept secret,
has revealed the proposals for ITU to take over more control powers.

EU digital commissioner Neelie Kroes stated on 24 August 2012 that,
although the governments might have more to say in the way the Internet
runs, she was against ITU taking over control of the internet although
some governments might have other opinions: “Of course there are voices
saying it would be better with the UN (but) I’m not in favour of the
line that, if you have a problem, you can only solve it in a new
structure,” Kroes who added:”I still think that the remarks that are
made (about giving governments a greater voice) can be included in a
solution within the structure of today,” she said. “I’m not aware that
that can’t be done, so I’m not willing to (favour) a new structure.”

While the US Congress opposes the proposal of the UN agency to take
control over the Internet, it is also not even clear whether ITU wants
to assume this kind of control. Hamadoun Toure said there was “no single
reference to Internet governance in the preparation document”.

No need for UN to take over internet, says EU digital chief Kroes

The fight for control of the internet has become critical (22.08.2012)