US refuses to give internet to the world

The US, which famously does not know that Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web,  is refusing to hand over control of the internet to the UN.

The UN wants to bring in a global treaty to bring the internet under UN control and there have been suggestions that it would tax big international telcos to pay to make sure that the world is better connected.

However, according to AP,  the US will submit its own formal proposal on Friday for the December conference held by the International Telecommunications Union, a UN agency which sets global telecom rules.

Terry Kramer, who has been named the special envoy for the talks, opposed proposals by Russia, China and others to expand the authority of the ITU to cover the internet.

He claims that it will bring in regulation and he said that the internet has grown because it has not been micro-managed or owned by any government or multinational organisation.

The US is worried that the December conference, to be held in Dubai, could seek changes threatening the openness of the internet and its so-called “multi-stakeholder” model.

The fear is that it would give governments greater authority to filter or censor information, which is certainly what Russia and China wants, but is also becoming part of policy of Western countries such as the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

What is worrying the big US technology companies is that it has been suggested the committee would call for taxes on internet traffic to pay for a worldwide improvement in infrastructure. This would hit US firms, who spend a lot of time trying to avoid paying tax.

The conference is aimed at updating a 1998 global telecom treaty.

ITU secretary general Hamadoun Toure has indicated he would be seeking a “consensus” approach rather than bringing each proposal up for a vote.

Kramer hopes that he can lean on the Europeans to back the US plan to keep control of the internet. Apparently we love the fact that the US controls the internet and have no interest in improving the worldwide web by taxing rich US companies either.