Several large nations want to make substantial changes to how the Internet operates and they want to do this by way of pushing a UN treaty at a meeting later this year.
The treaty, known formally as the International Telecommunications Regulations, was developed in 1988 to deal with global telephone and telegraph systems that were often state-run. The conference in Dubai, which is being held by the ITU, will be the first time in 20 years that the treaty is being opened for revisions.
As to where the United States lines up, on this here are a couple points of view you can take:
Optimist: both major political parties, the House, the Senate, and the Obama administration all agree that the plan as put forth is not a reasonable approach. So no discord here! Everyone’s on the same page even in an election year!
Alarmist: the United States is preparing to go to war with Russia AND China! Gah! Because those are the countries that support the plan!
Get this, again from the AP:
Russia, for example, has proposed language that requires member states to ensure the public has unrestricted access and use of international telecommunication services “except in cases where international telecommunication services are used for the purpose of interfering in the internal affairs or undermining the sovereignty, national security, territorial integrity and public safety of other states, or to divulge information of a sensitive nature,” according to a May 3 U.N. document that details the various proposals for amending the treaty.
This week, the House passed a resolution urging President Obama to oppose any such treaty. That resolution was praised by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. Everyone’s just making political statements, though, since Obama has already denounced any such treaty.