The Threat Of A UN Internet Takeover Is Only 'Vague' Because The UN Shares No Details
from the backroom-deals-are-a-problem dept
We’ve talked for a little while now about the fears that the UN’s ITU (International Telecommunication Union) is seeking to effectively “take over” the internet. In the last few weeks, this has received some (welcome) new attention, including from US officials who worry about what an ITU-managed internet would look like (hint: it would be a lot less open). Of course, now there’s some backlash, with some people pointing out that the actual threats here are “vague.” First of all, that’s not necessarily true. It’s not difficult to actually put together a decent list of possible threats.
But what this really highlights is the true problem here, which is that whatever happens here is happening behind the scenes, in backrooms, without public scrutiny. And, if we’re talking about regulating the internet that the public uses so much, that seems like a pretty big problem. Just as we’ve seen with ACTA, TPP, SOPA and lots of other things, a big part of the problem is the near total lack of transparency in what’s being discussed around these ideas.
In an attempt to deal with this, Jerry Brito and Eli Dourado have hacked together and launched a new site to collect, host and distribute leaked information about the ITU’s plans. With perfect timing, the first documents from the ITU, including some proposed language for International Telecommunications Regulations have leaked. Taking a quick skim, there doesn’t appear to be that much of interest in the initial document leak (I reserve the right to change my opinion once I’ve had more time to read through it in detail…), but it’s an important starting point. These documents and details need to be public and need to be discussed in public, rather than allowing internet governance be determined in a series of backroom deals.