Kenya opposes internet regulation by ITU

Kenya will not back a proposed changes to the Melbourne Internet rules and economic model by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), claiming it would stunt innovation.

According to Kenya’s Information and Communications Ministry permanent secretary Dr. Bitange Ndemo, the review of the rules would negate gains the country has achieved in the last three years by making Internet more expensive.

He said the Kenyan delegation that will attend the International Telecommunications Union meeting in Dubai next week will oppose the move, insisting that the ITU should concentrate on regulating telcos.

“ITU should stick with regulating telecoms industry and leave out the Internet, as expanding its mandate to start regulating it will stifle innovation, especially in the Third World countries which are the beneficiaries of such content,” explained Ndemo.

Kenya, which will be represented by senior officials from the ministry and the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), will join a host of non-governmental organisations that are against various proposals in the forum from countries including Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia and the US.

“In the interests of promoting and protecting global Internet openness and the exercise of human rights online, we write to urge International Telecommunication Union (ITU) member states and their delegates to the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) to refrain from expanding the scope of the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) treaty to include the Internet.

“We ask that delegates: rigorously examine proposals for their impact on human rights, Internet openness, innovation, and ICT access and development. Oppose proposals that would diminish the rights of users or limit Internet openness,” part of the ministry’s statement read.

According to the Centre for Democracy And Technology (CDT), this move could also see a limitation of certain human rights.

CDT believes the government-dominated structure of the ITU is ultimately inadequate for making Internet policy. By its nature, it says, the ITU cannot provide the open, voluntary, decentralised and inclusive processes that good Internet policymaking requires.

CDT challenged the representatives attending the forum to further consider the interest of the industry before arriving at any decision.

Posted in: Internet

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