US, UK Won't Sign Global Internet Treaty
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The United States and several other Western nations will not sign the United Nations' Internet Telecommunication Union's (ITU) new treaty on rules for the Internet and global telecommunications, citing provisions those countries say will limit the free flow of information and stifle innovation.
The U.K., Canada and Australia will also refuse to sign the treaty at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai, rendering the agreement "rather pointless, as the British tech journal "the Register remarked.
Kenya, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and Poland are other notable countries that refused to sign.
Despite the absence of those big names, the measure will be signed by most member countries.
The countries that are in agreement will sign the treaty today (Dec. 14). The treaty will allow governments to exert more control over how the Internet is used and monitored within their borders. Some observers have expressed concerns that the treaty will be used to enact undemocratic regulations over the Web.
The ITU is a U.N. agency charged to handle issues regarding communication technologies. It began as a standardization organization covering telegraph traffic, and now coordinates global radio spectrum use and satellite orbits.
It also does advocacy and outreach work in the developing world, where access to communication tools are not readily available.
Once signed, the new treaty will take the place of the WCIT's 1988 treaty, which dealt mainly with voice communications. The new treaty will address issues raised by the Internet and other newer technologies that have dramatically transformed the way the world communicates.
If signed by India, the Register pointed out, the treaty would cover more than half of the world's population, but not the majority of the Internet’s users.
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