Some might call it scandalous that the head of the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), Mohamed Nasser al Ghanim, singlehandedly pushed through the resolution that allows the ITU to handle Internet-related work in the future. He did this without a vote and without the permission of western countries. His decision was based on „a feeling in the room“, as he called it.
His resolution allows every country to justify international interventions to the country’s Internet usage.
During the last few weeks in Dubai, the ITU debated the new International Telecommunication Regulations, known as the ITR.
Internet usage was one of the points of discussion. From the get-go, there were a large number of people who doubted the new guidelines. They were afraid that Russia and China, supported by the biggest Internet providers, could enforce two main points:
monitoring data flow and changing regulations concerning what data you have to pay for.
The western states have largly established at the convention. They spoke out against limiting the Internet’s freedom and against the ITU guidelines.
U.S. Ambassador Terry Kramer said that signing the contract was impossible for the United States.
55 additional states, including Germany, took a stand against the contract and wouldn‘t sign it either. Based on this overwhelming opposition, the WCIT can be considered a failure.
It remains to be seen what this means for the future.