U.N. summit rejects U.S., Europe hands-off-the-Internet plea

Delegates to a United Nations summit agreed today that a U.N. body should take a more "active" role in shaping the future of the Internet, a move that had been opposed by the United States and its allies that had warned of greater government control.

The agreement by delegates from the International Telecommunication Union's 192 member nations, a majority of whom raised their placards in support of the language, took place after 1:30 a.m. local time in Dubai. It came after the head of the ITU, a U.N. agency, had promised not to … Read more

Russians back down from leaked U.N. Internet proposal

The Russian Federation has revised a controversial proposal to turn Internet governance over to the U.N.'s International Telecommunications Union, CNET has learned.

The revised proposal tones down some of the anti-Internet rhetoric of the original, but still calls on the UN to help member states seize control of key Internet engineering assets, including domain names, addresses and numbering.

Both the original proposal (PDF) and Saturday's revised version (PDF) have now been posted on WCITLeaks, a Web site operated by researchers at George Mason University.

On Friday, CNET was first to report on the original proposal, which leaked … Read more

Russia demands broad UN role in Net governance, leak reveals

commentary The Russian Federation is calling on the United Nations to take over key aspects of Internet governance, including addressing and naming, according to documents leaked on Friday from an upcoming treaty conference.

The Russians made their proposal on November 13 in the lead-up to December's World Conference on International Communications in Dubai. The conference will consider revisions to the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs), a treaty overseen by the UN's International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The treaty has not been revised since 1988, before the emergence of the commercial Internet.

Russia's proposals would, if adopted, dramatically affect Internet … Read more

The U.N. vs. the Internet: The fight escalates

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is expected this week to approve a resolution (PDF) strongly critical of growing efforts to transfer key aspects of Internet governance to the International Telecommunications Union, an agency of the United Nations.

The resolution was introduced by Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) as part of a hearing last month on the upcoming World Conference on International Telecommunications, which will convene in Dubai late this year to rewrite an international treaty on communications overseen by the ITU.

The WCIT process is secret, but proposals drafted by the 193 ITU member nations and nonvoting affiliate organizations … Read more

European telcoms defend leaked proposal for U.N. Internet tax

European network providers that want the United Nations to consider a new Internet tax targeting Google, Facebook, Apple, and Netflix today defended their proposal, which was leaked earlier this week.

The idea of requiring content providers to pay fees based on usage is an "innovative" change to the way the Internet currently works and will create a more "fair" environment "where operators' revenues will not be disconnected from the investment needs made necessary by the rapid growth of Internet traffic," the providers said in a statement (PDF).

Last night, CNET reported that the European … Read more

U.N. could tax U.S.-based Web sites, leaked docs show

The United Nations is considering a new Internet tax targeting the largest Web content providers, including Google, Facebook, Apple, and Netflix, that could cripple their ability to reach users in developing nations.

The European proposal, offered for debate at a December meeting of a U.N. agency called the International Telecommunication Union, would amend an existing telecommunications treaty by imposing heavy costs on popular Web sites and their network providers for the privilege of serving non-U.S. users, according to newly leaked documents.

The documents (No. 1 No. 2) punctuate warnings that the Obama administration and Republican members of Congress … Read more