Despite concern from some quarters that certain United Nations member states were apparently plotting a takeover bid to gain control of the Internet, the organization rumored to be close to stealing the world wide web has stated that it has no interest in being in charge of the virtual world. Of course, that could just be a double bluff to lure us all off guard…
Rumors that a consortium made up of countries including China, Russia and some Middle Eastern nations have been plotting to take control of the Internet via the International Telecommunications Union have been circling with increasing frequency in the last few weeks, going so far as to lead to the creation of a website for whistleblowers to share potentially incriminating documents that would blow the doors off the entire deal. There’s only one problem, according to the ITU’s chief of media relations and public information: The ITU isn’t actually planning to be part of any power grab.
“I’d be surprised if you could find anything that would support these sorts of allegations,” ITU media chief Sarah Parkes told Talking Points Memo while talking to the political website about the upcoming World Conference on International Telecommunications, said to be where proposals to change existing Internet policy would be revealed. “Internet governance is not an issue at this conference. Some of it will concern things like exchange, routing and roaming rates.”
Parkes explained that, while each nation in the ITU does get a chance to propose new updates or changes to policy, said changes don’t actually get accepted without near-unanimous approval of all member nations. “Even a handful of dissenters is enough to stop proposals from going through,” she said. “We think it’s healthy that people have the ability to raise whatever points they want to raise in a very open way. This is part of the democratic process, letting the delegations discuss anything they want to. We wouldn’t see and I don’t think the delegations would see it as a desirable element for us to say ‘you’re not allowed to raise these specific issues.’”
The concern that control of the Internet would be somehow transferred from those who currently hold the reins (Non-profit organizations like ICANN and the Internet Engineering Task Force, which generally fall under US jurisdiction) to ITU, and therefore untrustworthy hands, can be put down to general confusion about what ITU actually is, Parkes believes. Saying that she found the WCITLeaks website “very amusing,” she went on to suggest that perhaps what is needed is information and context, instead of the illusion of transparency and paranoia. “I think what we need to do and are doing is communicate better. That would be the best way to put everyone’s minds at rest.”