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U.S. opts out of United Nations Internet agreement

The U.S. and other western countries have rejected a new UN treaty on oversight of the Internet. The U.S. has long taken the perspective of major tech players like Google that internet regulation needs a light touch, if any. Evidently much of the world does not agree

The U.S. and other Western countries have rejected a new United Nations treaty on oversight of the Internet.

The gathering of the United Nations International Telecommunications Union covered many obscure and technical aspects of the Internet's workings, but underlying the discussions was a broad belief by Western Nations that the Internet has done quite well unregulated, according to the BBC's Mark Gregory.

Western nations argued the Internet should be left alone and that getting governments involved "could make things worse from a commercial point of view… or repressive regimes could use [it] to do things like increase their censorship," says Gregory.

Yet supporters of Internet regulation, such as Russia, China, and other developing countries, see the issue in a different way.

"Because of the way the Internet has grown up, it is dominated by the West," says Gregory, and so countries asking for regulation say that it is a way for them to have more power "over something that is increasingly important and increasingly effects their citizens."

 

About the author

Jeff Horwich is the interim host of Marketplace Morning Report and a sometime-Marketplace reporter.

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