World Conference on International Telecommunications began on Monday!


Internet is a word which brings both good and bad. A day without an internet connection is like closed out from the rest of the world, not that it is good to feel like that, but most of us do feel like that. As the World Wide Web being the greatest ocean of information from around the world and beyond, there is always a shadow of darkness around it. Obviously, doesn’t everything in the world have positives and negatives? But, the fact that “the negative” of the Internet may be a privacy threat is not to be just blinked away and it is not. Most of you might be aware about a global conference taking place in Dubai regarding this issue…

A World Conference on International Telecommunications began on Monday in Dubai with some 190-plus nations discussing the global internet’s future and will last for 2 weeks. At the Conference, governments will vote to update the terms of the international telecommunications regulations (ITRs) treaty, which set out the principles intended to direct the flow of information the world over. The ITRs have not been updated since 1988, well before the emergence of the commercial internet.

BBC reports that,

“The brutal truth is that the internet remains largely [the] rich world’s privilege, ” said Dr Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general of the UN’s International Telecommunications Union, ahead of the meeting.

“ITU wants to change that.”

The search giant Google has warned the conference as a threat against the “open internet” and is asking users to support their petition to keep the internet free and open at their blog. But the agency thinks different, they claim that it is needed to ensure investment in infrastructure to help more people access the net.

The biggest fear which is spreading now about this global conference is about the censorship which has already been passed. As reported by the CNN;

“Member States already have the right, as stated in Article 34 of the Constitution of ITU, to block any private telecommunications that appear ‘dangerous to the security of the State or contrary to its laws, to public order or to decency.’ The treaty regulations cannot override the Constitution,” said Hamadoun Touré, the ITU Secretary-General.

Emma Llanso, a policy attorney with the Center for Democracy & Technology, said proposals by various governments to treat internet connections like the telephone system are cause for concern regarding privacy and the unfettered, free flow of information.

But there is no “doomsday” internet kill switch scenario, she said.

“There’s not going to be some kind of doomsday scenario that there’s a treaty that makes the internet go dark,” Llanso said. “What we’re seeing is governments putting forward visions of the internet and having discussions.”

The conference is said to include recommendation that there be an invasive approach of governments in managing the internet, in managing the content that goes via the internet, what people are looking at, what they’re saying. Other topics which are playing around the discussion table include spectrum and technology standards to improve global interoperability and efficiency, Cybersecurity, spam and data retention etc.

Terry Kramer, the US’s ambassador to Wcit said;

“These fundamentally violate everything that we believe in terms of democracy and opportunities for individuals, and we’re going to vigorously oppose any proposals of that nature.”

He also added that, he is concerned by a proposal by Russia which said member states should have “equal rights to manage the internet”, which will lead to more censorship.

Another issue of concern is that, major websites having to pay a fee to send data along telecom operators’ networks. Yes, that means like our telephone network.  Some European and Middle Eastern members are calling for so-called termination fees, in which networks where a web session begins must pay the routing cost for the session’s destination, similar to how we have to pay for our phone calls, which they call a quality-based-model. (Is there anything which is available for cheap these days?). Firms might face charges if they wanted to ensure streamed video and other good quality content downloads.

The above model, if comes to action is going to see a large drop in Internet use and maybe an “impossible for us” for the common man with those high prices about to be charged but those in the conference claims that it is a way to bring about internet monitoring.

The conference is all locked up and secret and God knows what we are about to hear? – Is the World Wide Web going to be an unreachable resource for common man in the future :(.


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