U.S. returns to Busan with ITR in post-Snowden era

Posted on October 21, 2014  /  1 Comments

Advocates of Internet’s freedom have overwhelmingly supported the U.S. government before WCIT 2012 in Dubai. Thereafter one obscure Mr. Snowden has narrowed, if not collapsed, the floodgate of support for America’s doctrine of Internet. Washington’s army of diplomats has now thronged in Busan to prevent any voting on ITR issue in the Plenipotentiary Conference of ITU.

In short, the State Department’s approach is this: Convince the representatives of the other 192 member countries attending the conference that the 150-year-old U.N. technical body is the wrong forum for existential questions about how the Internet should work. That could buy time to improve the current “multi-stakeholder” model that has been used to govern the Internet’s operations for years, and make it better able to handle the knottiest questions, from e-mail spam to government-conducted digital surveillance.

“It is our hope that there will not be votes,” said the U.S.’ delegation’s leader, Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda, who previewed the strategy at a roundtable at the Foreign Press Club in Washington, D.C., last week.

The debate on the fate of the Internet is setting up a fascinating diplomatic dance, made thornier for U.S. officials by lingering foreign suspicion of U.S. surveillance efforts in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations.

The Washington Post reports.

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