The US is to submit initial proposals to the World
Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) today ahead of the event
which is to be held in Dubai in December this year. The conference is being
held in order to review and possibly revise the International
Telecommunications Regulations (ITR), which has not seen any changes since
Whilst the US currently oversees the technical
specifications of the net under the Department of Commerce, control is maintained
by several non-profit-making US bodies and there have been some calls for the
UN to take over.
However, the US has made it clear that it will resist any
attempts to move control: "the ITRs have served well as a foundation for growth
in the international market,” Ambassador Terry Kramer, US WICT Head of Delegation
"We want to preserve the flexibility contained in the
current ITRs, which has helped create the conditions for rapid evolution of
telecommunications technologies and markets around the world.”
Whilst some reports claim that other nations such as Russia
and China will push for changes to the current set-up, the USA cannot be forced
to comply with any changes.
The 1988 treaty put in place the rules for internet traffic
flow and the calculation of charges, revisions to the ancient treaty are
necessary due to the rise of the internet and mobile devices.
According to leaked documents on Wcitleaks, Russia has set out
proposals for some changes to be made, including a change in the way that
internet addresses are allocated, which is now co-ordinated by US-based Icann.
The BBC report that Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin "has
signalled Russia's final submission could go further”.
"In 2011 he said he was keen to discuss "establishing
international control over the internet using the monitoring and supervisory
capabilities of the International Telecommunication Union," the BBC said.
It’s also been reported that both China and India are
backing the Russian President. However, any changes to the treaty must be
unanimous and parties attempting to put changes to the vote will be blocked.
"We never vote because voting means winners and losers
and you can't afford that," Dr Hamadoun Toure, the ITU's secretary-general
told the BBC.