US rejects UN Telecom Treaty

Dec 14 2012, 11:01 IST
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US said the UN Telecom Treaty could lead to state censorship and regulation of the internet.  (Reuters) US said the UN Telecom Treaty could lead to state censorship and regulation of the internet. (Reuters)
SummaryUS said the UN Telecom Treaty could lead to state censorship and regulation of the internet.

The United States has rejected a UN treaty under consideration at a global telecommunications conference in Dubai, arguing that this could lead to state censorship and regulation of the internet.

"We've made clear that we will not accept any treaty text that includes provisions related to internet regulations," the State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters at her daily news conference yesterday as the US representative attending the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai announced the country's decision not to sign the telecommunications treaty.

"We have strongly supported efforts to expand international telecommunication services. So we very much regret that instead of working on that latter dossier, instead of focusing on promoting innovation and market growth in the telecom space, this conference has gone in the wrong direction," Nuland said.

During his intervention at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai yesterday, Ambassador Terry Kramer said the United States cannot support an ITU treaty that is inconsistent with a multi- stakeholder model of Internet governance.

"As the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) has stated, this conference was never meant to focus on internet issues; however, today we are in a situation where we still have text and resolutions that cover issues on spam and also provisions on internet governance," he said.

The United States, he said, continues to believe that Internet policy must be multi- stakeholder driven.

"Internet policy should not be determined by member states but by citizens, communities, and broader society, and such consultation from the private sector and civil society is paramount. This has not happened here," Kramer said.

The US decision was welcomed by lawmakers.

Senator Claire McCaskill, who led a bipartisan effort in Congress to keep the Internet free of foreign regulation, welcomed the decision.

"I'm proud of our delegation. They stood up for the idea that the Internet Ė a crucial tool for the spread of freedom and the expansion of the global economy Ė shouldn't be controlled by international organisations or foreign countries. It's unfortunate that other nations couldn't make the same commitment, but that shouldn't affect our resolve," he said.

Commending the US decision, Congressman Henry A Waxman said the government is united with many other ITU member countries, industry, and leaders in civil society across the globe in supporting a free and open Internet.

"The United States has made no apologies for advancing this clear position, and I

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