The United Kingdom and other member states have blocked an attempt to put the United Nations in control of the Internet at a conference in Dubai this week.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) – the UN’s agency for information and communications technology – brought together representatives from around the world to try and agree on updating telecoms regulations that hadn’t been touched since 1988.
But representatives from the UK and US, as well as from Chile, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Italy, Kenya, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal and Sweden said they wouldn’t be able to sign up without discussing it first with their domestic governments.
Critics claim that giving equal rights to each state of the UN and putting one vote in each of their hands could lead to Internet censorship. High profile figures such as Vint Cerf, one of the creators of the internet, and Sir Tim-Berners Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, even said such regulations would be a threat to a free internet and standards should be left to the private sector organisations building the technology.
However, countries such as Russia, China and Saudi Arabia have said the current Internet governance framework allows the US to hold the rights to the naming and registration of addresses on the internet and puts control into select hands. They believe new regulations are now needed.