Eric Schmidt hits out at UN

Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt has warned that a new United Nations treaty that aims to bring in more regulation of the net could stuff up everything.

At Mobile World Congress, Google’s Eric Schmidt said handing over control of things such as naming and DNS to the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) would divide the internet.

He said that this would be a disaster because it would end the openness and interoperability of the web, which is one of the greatest achievements of humanity. Schmidt warned that people should not give that up easily.

Schmidt said that the moves, which seem logical, will have the effect of “balkanising the internet,” urging everyone to strongly resist the moves.

The ITU, which is part of the United Nation, this week began discussing changes to a 1988 treaty that would bring in international governance of the internet.

New proposals, thought to be backed by Russia and China, regulate cybersecurity and give the ITU dominance over such “ground up” organisations like ICANN.

Schmidt said that the ITU is a magnificent organisation and has done a great job in telecommunications, but the web works differently Current governance is working pretty well, he told ZDNet, and if it needs to be changed it would have to be done very carefully.

Schmidt admitted that regulators have a role to play. However, he advised decision makers to consider the future when settling on how to govern the internet over matters such as privacy.