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Mon Nov 26, 2012, 05:36 PM

Fox News Hypes Supposed Threat Of The U.N. Stealing The Internet

Fox News Hypes Supposed Threat Of The U.N. Stealing The Internet


Fox is correct in noting that next month will be the start of the World Conference on International Telecommunications in Dubai, hosted by the International Telecommunications Union, the oldest part of the U.N. system. They are also correct that states such as Russia and India are in fact in favor of the United Nations having more direct control over the governance of the Internet. That’s about where the accuracy ends.

As Kelly reluctantly admit during the segment, the United States is opposed to this proposal. That didn’t stop her from managing to critique the Obama administration for not leading the opposition towards the measure.

Despite Fox’s fretting, the real purpose of the conference is far more mundane than they let on. According to the Better World Campaign, a part of the United Nations Foundation, the conference is based primarily around such technical issues as “fair mobile roaming charges; how to prevent taxation on mobile users from two different countries when receiving an international call; how to prevent spam; and basic cyber-security.” The majority of time and effort will go into updating the International Telecoms Regulations, a process that requires consensus.

The fact is that Russia and other states have been trying for a decade to move control of the Internet from non-profits to intergovernmental organizations where they would have more control; they have failed to do so each time. What’s more, the stance of these states runs against adopted U.N. policy, with the U.N. Human Rights Council having declared free and open internet access a human right earlier this year. In addition, preparatory documents that leaked back in June showed no sign of anything on the agenda that would indicate that a takeover was even close to being at hand.


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