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Friday, August 10, 2012

United States Refused to Give Internet Away

The United States of America, which famously doesn’t even know that it was Tim Berners-Lee who invented the world wide web, has refused to hand over control of the Internet to the United Nations. The latter wants to bring in a global treaty and bring the worldwide web under its control. There were suggestions that the UN would tax large international telecommunication companies to ensure that the world is better connected.

Nevertheless, the news is that the United States will submit its own formal proposal for the December conference held by the ITU (International Telecommunications Union). Terry Kramer, the special envoy for the talks, has opposed the suggestions by Russia, China and other countries to expand the authority of the outfit to cover the web.

Kramer announced that it will introduce regulation, adding that the web has grown because it hasn’t been micro-managed or owned by any government or multinational group. In the meantime, the United States is worried that the December conference, scheduled to be held in Dubai, could seek changes that would threaten the openness of the web and its multi-stakeholder model. The US is afraid that it would grant the governments greater authority to filter or censor data, which is exactly what the Russian Federation and China want, and is also becoming part of policy of such Western countries as the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

The most worrying part for the big American technology companies is suggestion to the committee to call for taxes on web traffic to pay for a worldwide improvement in infrastructure. Of course, this would hit American businesses which are doing their best to avoid paying tax.

The December conference is aimed at updating a 1998 global telecom treaty, with ITU secretary general highlighting that he would be seeking a “consensus” approach instead of bringing each suggestion up for a vote.

Terry Kramer is hoping that he may lean on the EU to back the plan of the United States to keep control of the worldwide web. Apparently, the rest of the world also accepts the fact that the United States controls the web and has no interest in improving the Internet by taxing rich American companies either.

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