Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Internet Control Proposals Scrapped, for now

DUBAI — A? Russia-led coalition withdrew a proposal to give governments new powers over the Internet, a plan opposed by Western countries in talks on a new global telecom treaty.

Negotiations on the treaty mark the most sustained effort so far by governments from around the world to agree on how — or whether — to regulate cyberspace.

The United States, Europe, Canada? and other advocates of a hands-off approach to Internet regulation want to limit the new treaty's scope to telecom companies.

But? Russia, China? and many Arab states, which want greater governmental control, have been pushing to expand the treaty beyond traditional telecom operators.

Representatives of about 150 member countries of the International Telecommunication Union have been negotiating for the past eight days in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on the new treaty, which was last revised in 1988, before the advent of the World Wide Web.

The? Russia-led proposal could have allowed countries to block some Internet locations and take control of the allocation of Internet addresses. ? 

That task is overseen by ICANN, a self-governing organization under contract with the U.S. Department of Commerce.

An ITU spokesman said late Monday that the coalition's plan had been scrapped.

"It looks like the Russians and Chinese overplayed their hand," said American cybersecurity expert Jim Lewis? of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"These issues will continue to be on the table for discussion in other forms during the remainder of the conference," U.S. Ambassador?  Terry Kramer said.

China, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Sudan? and the United Arab Emirates had co-signed the aborted proposal. The UAE? insisted that the document had not been withdrawn.

"It may come down to the wire," a Western delegate said on condition of anonymity. "There are a lot of other [similar] proposals, so I don't think this represents a substantial conclusion and could be just maneuvering."

The United States' position is that the Internet has flourished with minimal state interference. It wants this to continue, and it argues that many of the proposed changes could allow governments to stifle free speech, reduce online anonymity and censor Internet content.

Russia and its allies insist that they need new powers to fight cybercrime and protect networks.

When the revised treaty is finalized, countries can opt out of parts of it or even refuse to sign it. The talks are due to end Friday.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more