The Blog

U.S. Will Not Sign U.N. Treaty to Control Internet

2:24 PM, Dec 13, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

The United States announced today that it “cannot sign” a proposed treaty that would cede some control of the Internet to the United Nations. The details of the treaty have been the subject of more than a weeklong conference in Dubai.

United Nations ZP.svg .png

The head American delegate to the conference, Ambassador Terry Kramer, made the announcement today in a conference call, fewer than 24 hours after a draft treaty was suddenly produced in a middle-of-the-night session in Dubai.

The final draft of the resolution is still being finalized, but it looks “unlikely it will materially change,” said Kramer. “While there’s still a chance things could change, I would say that it’s highly unlikely” that things will change enough to receive American support.

America objected to provisions in the treaty on governance, spam, and security. "There was not a lot of consternation here," said Kramer, explaining the U.S. was never close to agreeing to the treaty. 

There are “national sovereignty rights” that will make sure the treaty, which will likely be ratified by a number of other countries, will not effect American consumers of the Internet.

Other countries already expressing concerns about the treaty include the U.K. Costa Rica, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Kenya, Canada, Poland, and several others, according to Kramer.

The vote for the treaty will be voted on before the conference ends on Friday.

Kramer praised the conference for “substantively” talking about Internet-related issues. “While there was no consensus” at the conference, Kramer said, the conference allowed for a good exchange of ideas.

“The U.S. will remain engaged in a global dialogue on the role of government … in the Internet sector,” said Kramer.

It will be ongoing. “The conversation will continue for months and years.”

In the conference call, Kramer thanked the leaders of the conference for “their efforts and skills”

Here’s a draft of the latest available draft treaty (which was proposed late last night):

PRELIMINARY DRAFT NEW RESOLUTION
To foster an enabling environment for the greater growth of the Internet

The World Conference of International Telecommunication (Dubai, 2012), recognizing

a) the WSIS Outcome Documents including Geneva (2003) and Tunis Phases (2005);

b) that the Internet is a central element of the infrastructure of the Information Society, has evolved from a research and academic facility into a global facility available to the public.;

c) the importance of Broadband capacity to facilitate the delivery of a broader range of services and applications, promote investment and provide Internet access at affordable to both existing and new users.;

d) the valuable contribution of all stakeholder groups in their respective roles as recognized in paragraph 35 of the Tunis Agenda to the evolution, functioning and development of the Internet.;

e) that, as stated in the WSIS outcomes, all governments should have an equal role and responsibility for international Internet governance and for ensuring the stability, security and continuity of the existing Internet and its future development and of the future internet, and that the need for development of public policy by governments I consultation with all stakeholders is also recognized,;

f) Resolutions 101, 102, and 133 of the 2010 Plenipotentiary Conference.,

invites Member States 1 to elaborate on their respective position on international Internet-related technical, development and public policy issues within the mandate of the ITU at various ITU fora including, inter alia, the World Telecommunication/ICT Policy Forum, the Broadband Commission and ITU-T and ITU-¬D Study Groups.;

2 to engage with all their stakeholders in this regard.,

resolves to instruct the Secretary-General 1 to continue to take the necessary steps for ITU to play an active and constructive role in the multi-stakeholder model of the Internet as expressed in § 35 of the Tunis Agenda;

2 to support the participation of Member States and all other stakeholders, as applicable, in the activities of the ITU in this regard.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 15 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers