ITU Adopts Resolution Inviting Members to Keep Hands off Internet

Move Meant to Quell Fears about Upcoming Dubai Conference

In its continuing effort to convince nervous members like the U.S. that the upcoming telecom treaty conference in Dubai (it starts Dec. 3) will not be a referendum on greater government control of the Internet, ITU Thursday announced it had adopted a resolution to that effect...sort of.

ITU announced that its members had adopted a resolution "inviting" members to "refrain from taking any unilateral and/or discriminatory actions that could impede another Member State from accessing public Internet sites and using resources."

The U.S. is concerned that proposals by China, Russia and others to expand the definition of telecom to include broadband could open the door to just such greater government control.

"Just days away from the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12), the adoption of this Resolution underlines ITU's commitment to a free and inclusive information society," said Hamadoun Toure, secretary general of the ITU. "This should send a strong message to the international community about accusations that ITU's membership wishes to restrict the freedom of speech. Clearly the opposite is true. It is in this spirit -- fostering an Internet whose benefits are open to all -- that I would like to head into WCIT-12."

The U.S. would, too, but is unlikely to take invitations to refrain as a signal that all is well.