For the last two weeks some of the planet’s most oppressive regimes have faced off against some of the most powerful Internet advocates in an effort to rewrite a multilateral communications treaty that, if successful, could have changed the nature of the Internet and altered the way it is governed.
The US delegation led the refusal to sign updates, blocking encroachment on internet freedom:
The United States, which framed its dissent as defending “the open Internet,” was joined by more than 80 other countries, including Australia, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Greece, Italy, Japan, Kenya, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Sweden and the United Kingdom. (Some of the non-signers seemed to be seeking to avoid making too overt of a political statement, saying, regrettably that they could not sign because they had to “consult with capital.”)
The WCIT is certainly not the final word on the matter, however. It will be interesting to watch how the international debate on internet politics proceeds:
The Internet, and the forces that support the free and open movement of information rolled over traditional UN alliances at the WCIT. An effort to shift governance of the Internet from private bodies like ICANN and IETF was thwarted. The conference did not mark the end of the battle to control what has emerged as the world’s most powerful communications medium. But it very likely marked a turning point.
Update: See Eli Dourado’s “Behind Closed Doors” take on the meeting