UN treaty not to curb the Internet, says the UN telecom chief
Head of the UN telecommunications body, Hamadoun Toure, has quelled worries about the possible moves toward controlling or curbing the Internet freedom.
While talking to the media on the sidelines of 11-day World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) set off in Dubai to review regulations reached in 1988, Toure said that the reports and rumours of the conference looking to limit Web freedom is 'completely untrue'. However, he predicted some 'light-touch' regulations.
"Nothing can stop the freedom of expression in the world today, and nothing in this conference will be about it. I have not mentioned anything about controlling the Internet," Toure said. "Many countries will come to reaffirm their desire to see freedom of expression embedded in this conference," he added.
The 11-day conference is being held to review codes and highlights the shift from strictly managed telecom networks to the free Internet. However, reports suggest a 123-member U.S. delegation with envoys from tech giants such as Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp is concerned over the possibilities the new UN regulations on Internet security could be used by countries such as China and Russia to vindicate their efforts to control and monitor the Internet.
Google has already warned of 'serious repercussions' on the web if the global talks authenticate web censorship. "Some proposals could permit governments to censor legitimate speech -- or even cut off Internet access," says Bill Echikson, Google's head of Free Expression in Europe, Middle East and Africa in a statement on Friday.
Google also opined that the ITU, which is the UN agency for information communication technologies, isn't the relevant body to address the Internet issues. "Although the ITU has helped the world manage radio spectrum and telephone networks, it is the wrong place to make decisions about the future of the Internet," Echikson adds. "Only governments have a vote at the ITU.”
The Dubai conference will also take up issues such as battling cyber-crimes and expand the Internet penetration in developing nations.
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