ITU and the Internet

Lately, there has been a bit of noise about the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) taking over the governance of the Internet. On the surface, that sounds reasonable. After all, the Internet is about telecommunications, isn’t it. But is it really a good idea? CIRA has a decent write-up on why it might be a bad idea and a link to a petition against it. I will avoid repeating the history of the ITU and other bits of information that can be easily discovered elsewhere.

Instead, I will add my voice to the many who believe there is no need for the ITU to be involved with the Internet. The current model of multi stakeholder agreements seems to work quite well. Obviously, totalitarian regimes, for instance, continue to impose censorship and other restrictions on the Internet in their jurisdictions. However, under the current model, those interests cannot impose their will on any jurisdiction that does not choose to allow it. Do those of us living in the more enlightened countries in the world wish to have our communication options controlled by a group which is beholden to dictators and totalitarian regimes? How about genocidal ones? Do we want our costs for communication to go up due to treaty enforced tariffs on Internet traffic? How about mandatory censorship of anything objectionable to Islam? Or China?

In short, I do not see how putting the ITU in charge of any aspect of the Internet is an improvement over the current model. While it may not necessarily be any worse, it is unlikely to be better. That would mean that making a change would simply be change for change’s sake! That is never a good reason to change anything.


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