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October 30, 2012

Internet may come under UN control

Russia, China and several other countries are supporting the move while the US is opposing

By CBR Staff Writer

United Nations (UN) delegates are scheduled to meet in Dubai, UAE in December this year to discuss a proposal to change global telecom rules and give the UN control over the internet.

As per the proposal, the internet would end up under the authority of the International Telecommunications Union, a UN agency that sets technical standards for global phone calls.

Russia, China and several other countries are supporting the bid while the US does not appear willing to place the Internet under UN control.

US officials believe that placing the Internet under UN control would undermine the free nature of cyberspace, which promotes open commerce and free expression, and crack down on dissidents.

James Lewis, director of the technology and public policy programme at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies was quoted by AFP as saying that, "The most likely outcome is a tie, and if that happens there won’t be any dramatic changes, although that could change if the developing countries make a big push."

"But there is a lot of discontent with how the Internet is governed and the US will have to deal with that at some point," Lewis said.

Lewis said there was still an overwhelming perception that the US owns and manages the Internet. Opponents have a "powerful argument" to create a global authority to manage the Internet.

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"We need to find some way to accommodate national laws in a way that doesn’t sacrifice human rights."

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