World Bulletin / News Desk
International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will be holding a major treaty-writing conference in Dubai that many countries would like to use to significantly expand the jurisdiction and legal authority of the Union, in December 2012.
The conference may potentially give this United Nations agency greater influence over internet governance as well as major telecoms issues such as accounting rates and termination charges for next-generation networks, data privacy, cybersecurity, international mobile roaming, and equipment specifications.
ITU said in a statement, it will convene the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from 3-14 December 2012.
This landmark conference will review the current International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs), which serve as the binding global treaty outlining the principles which govern the way international voice, data and video traffic is handled, and which lay the foundation for ongoing innovation and market growth.
The ITRs were last negotiated in Melbourne, Australia in 1988, and there is broad consensus that the text now needs to be updated to reflect the dramatically different information and communication technology (ICT) landscape of the 21st century.
Ahead of the conference, the U.S. is bracing for a call to revise internet treaties to spread control to nations other than the United States. The U.S. House of Representatives voted to support ITU, unanimously voting (414-0) that the “Internet doesn’t need new international regulations,” according to a report by PC World.
A need for changes to the treaty-level arrangements that the ITRs operates under is not under question. In the past 20 years the internet has seen great changes, and moved to new platforms including mobile phones and tablets, connected TVs and other devices.
Other countries, including Russia, China and India have submitted proposals, which BBC News reported. ITU typically does not publish submissions by each country, in order to let individual governments regulate the internet. However WCITLeaks.org, a wiki site that reports on the ITU, published leaked documents submitted by Russia, as well as documents submitted by other countries including the United States.