ITU hits back at accusations it aims to “restrict” free speech

United Nations agency the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has adopted a resolution asking Member States to refrain from taking any actions that could hinder a Member State from using resources and accessing public internet sites.

Members of ITU met at the World Telecommunication Standardisation Assembly 2012 (WTSA-12) this week in Dubai.

The ITU members revised and adopted Resolution 69 first agreed upon in 2008 at the WTSA meeting in Johannesburg – a non-discriminatory access and use of internet resources solution.

HumanIPO reported last week Google was pressing the ITU not to tighten Internet regulations and said management of the Web should be left to those who work in the industry.

But Hamadoun Touré, ITU Secretary-General, said: “The adoption of this Resolution underlines ITU’s commitment to a free and inclusive information society.”

Touré added: “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 (World Conference on International Telecommunications, also in Dubai from December 3-14).”

ICT allocates satellite orbits and global radio spectrum, ensures networks and technologies interconnect seamlessly through developing technical standards and “strive to improve access to ICTs to underserved communities worldwide.”

The Internet, being of an open and global nature, is essentially a driving force in speeding up progress and development. Discrimination or any impediment regarding accessing the internet could have severe consequences for developing countries.

ITU Member States that have been affected are invited by Resolution 69 to report to the ITU Director of the Telecommunications Standardisation Bureau (TSB) any discriminatory or unilateral actions that could block another Member State from accessing public internet sites and utilising resources.

“ITU’s work, along with many others, has played a key role in enabling the Internet. Without ITU standards providing the access technologies to homes and businesses and the transport mechanisms to carry information from one side of the world to another the broadband services that we have come to rely on would simply not work,” said the ITU.

The spectrum allocation for wi-fi and mobile broadband is also provided by ITU. “ITU standards focus on new methods to make the most of installed fibre optics and standards that will empower the next generation of this crucial part of the information society’s infrastructure,” it added.

Posted in: Internet

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