U.N. Web Regulation Meeting Concludes without Consensus

(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – Sides have failed to reach consensus on proposed changes to Telecommunications Regulations first passed in 1988. The UN-backed conference, which was set to conclude today was notable for displaying rift among countries over exactly how much web control certain entities should have.

A BBC report on Friday noted that countries including the U.S., U.K, Canada and Australia would not stamp approval on a new communications treaty after concern that its consequences could see more online censorship.

“It’s with a heavy heart and a sense of missed opportunities that the US must communicate that it’s not able to sign the agreement in the current form,” commented U.S. Ambassador Terry Kramer, according to the BBC.

Earlier in the conference, countries including China and Russia along with some Arab states had signaled they wanted a larger say in web regulation – a wish western countries didn’t take kindly too.

Much of the internet’s current regulation is overseen by ICANN, a private organization backed by the U.S. government and headquartered in the states.

During the week, The Center for Democracy and Technology’s Emma Llanso had told The Telegraph, “What we’re seeing is governments putting forward their visions of the future of the Internet, and if we see a large group of governments form that sees an Internet a lot more locked down and controlled, that’s a big concern.”

The failure for consensus should come as no surprise, however. Ceding web control to governments like China would likely be viewed as a failure in the fight for a free and open web. China (along with others) has been heavily criticized for blocking websites including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.