by William Jackson, Government Computer News
The Obama administration and U.S. industry officials recently told lawmakers that the Internet’s freedom is being threatened by proposals to expand international telecommunications regulations to cover the Internet.
“The Internet’s success has generated a worrying desire by some countries’ governments to create new international rules that would jeopardize the network’s innovative evolution and its multifaceted success,” says Google vice president and ACM President-Elect Vint Cerf.
An upcoming United Nations conference to renegotiate the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITR) has led to unanimous opposition in the United States to giving the International Telecommunications Union regulatory control over the Internet. A majority of countries agree with the United States that regulations for legacy telecom technologies should not be applied to the Internet, according to U.S. State Department official Philip Verveer.
But a number of countries, including Russia, China, Iran, and some Arab states, have proposed controls outside the ITR that would cover how information moves across national networks and how Internet addressing is controlled.
Some proposals are the products of authoritarian regimes that want to shore up their governments, the witnesses said. Others come from differences in understanding of security issues. Russia and China, for example, include the ability to control political dissent in the concept of information security. There also are efforts to impose roaming rates and termination charges for handling international traffic that opponents say would not only drive up user costs but also be impractical with the Internet’s current architecture.
A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers has introduced a nonbinding resolution expressing the House’s support for the status quo in Internet regulation, which is to promote a global Internet free from government control and preserve and advance the successful multi-stakeholder model that currently governs the Internet. Article