The final day of the UNs debate into the future of international telecommunications is coming to a close, but it seems this is only just the beginning.
The 12 day conference (WCIT12) has ended, but the future of the internet is still in the dark, after 55 of the 193 nations refused to sign the treaty.
Last reviewed in 1988, the 24 year old UN regulations govern ‘telecommunications’ as a whole. There has been much debate as to whether the internet should fall into this category, or whether the extreme developments over the last two decades mean the regulations are just too broad to govern the world’s biggest resource. Many have spoken out as to the difficulty of up hauling such an old agreement. Some proposals put forward compromised privacy and freedom online, with certain nations wanting full control of what is available and what is viewed.
The debate, hosted by the UN body, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has been in progress for the last two weeks and it seems the talks will continue until a compromise it met.
The UK, US and Canada were amongst the first to refuse the reviewed treaty yesterday. This move was followed by a further 55 countries including New Zealand, Japan and Kenya debating whether to sign or not.
The refusal to sign stemmed from a number of arguments claiming that internet policy should be determined by communities and citizens and not by member states. Many angered that the proposals undermined and interfered with the independent regulatory bodies that currently regulate the World Wide Web.
US ambassador Terry Kramer stated that “The internet has given the world unimaginable economic and social benefit during these past 24 years. All without UN regulation. We candidly cannot support an ITU Treaty that is inconsistent with the multi-stakeholder model of internet governance.”
The countries who have refused to sign are protesting to maintain the internet as a free, open and international service.
All documents from the WCIT12 are now available online.