The British and United States governments have refused to sign a new UN treaty that they believed would give governments too much control over the internet. While this sounds like a very liberal stance to take, ultimately they want more of a open governing structure, where free enterprise also has a say in how the internet is regulated.
The US representatives cited the current “multi-stakeholder” model of internet governance as a much more preferred method of managing the online universe. It argued that: “Internet policy should not be determined by Member States, but by citizen, communities, and broader society.” After both the UK and US refused to sign the treaty, other nations such as Canada, New Zealand and Sweden also voiced their disapproval and announced they wouldn’t sign either.
The non-signing of the treaty will please organisations like Google, which have lobbied for a more openly managed internet, one that isn’t beholden to the UN. However other groups and governments, like Russia, China and Iran, that were pushing for greater official control of online practices.
While the reactions of those countries aren’t wholly surprising, those of the more western nations are. Many of those same governments pushed for regulatory bills like SOPA, PIPA and ACTA over the past couple of years, but ultimately failed to sign them through because of public disapproval. Perhaps they’re learning what their people want?
Despite the walk outs from so many nations however, the nations in favour of the bill have still signed in. According to BusinessWeek, this will mean those countries are bound by it, whereas the UK, US, Canada and most European Countries will continue to be bound by the 1988 telecoms treaty.
KitGuru Says: A conspiracy theorist might suggest that the reason western government wants more public sector influence in online regulation,is because they are beholden to media corporations like movie studios. Their interest in taking down sites like Megaupload and The Pirate Bay would also point the finger in that direction.