There is no consensus yet in Dubai. The ITU conference is being held under the United Nations flag in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) until Friday, December 14th.
Non-governmental organizations are becoming more and more active, as several authoritarian regimes such as Russia and the UAE are trying to impose their views on having a full government control over the Internet through a binding international treaty: they are thus aiming as rewriting the RTI (Regulation of international telecommunications) treaty in this direction, such treaty governing Internet since 1988. They wish to find a consensus.
Since its inception, Internet is a powerful expression tool and a great counter power for citizens that allows everyone to share their ideas and put pressure on companies but also political leaders, with an important impact. And this is explained in a simple way: the Internet is governed by its users and some non-profit associations, not by the governments. A consensus to work on.
Before Dubai’s conference, the Russian position, advocating for Internet to be under the aegis of the UN, has been the subject of harsh critics, especially coming from the United States of America. During the conference, Russia has instead on that, by stating the conference to challenge the current powers of ICANN, which is the American organization in charge of domain names. The UAE has also presented a somewhat similar position. On the other hand, The Chinese authorities have not intervened in a public way in the negotiations. For long China has tried to develop its own Internet and does not necessarily want to see control mechanisms to be developed and that it will also need to apply to its nation.
The United States who founded the ICANN model and its “multi-stakeholder approach” are no much yet in the negotiations, possibly keeping their energy for the final discussions. As for the European Union, it has not taken any official position yet.
If totalitarian regimes manage to influence other nations, Internet could become more expensive and much more slower but also much less open. Internet users would then be even more likely to subscribe to a VPN service that secures and protects access to the Internet, keeping anonymous any connection to the Web, from anywhere in the world.
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