Tuesday, March 01, 2011

America, the UN and the Future of Communications

"In May of this year, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and other UN organizations such as UNESCO, UNDP and UNCTAD, are scheduled to convene in Geneva to talk about regulation of the growth and development of the Internet......

"The fight over ICANN (the Corporation for Assigned Names and Number) -- a southern California corporation operating with a license from the U.S. Department of Commerce, which began in a conference in Tunis, Tunisia in the Mediterranean, sponsored by the UN and its sister agencies -- was only the opening salvo. It is not surprising that the idea of forming a special international agency to regulate ICANN failed at Tunis as the agenda and impetus for change was too narrow. This may change as nations around the world awaken to the importance of creating a robust communications infrastructure. They will likely be less dependent and less willing to accept what has been considered a one-way flow of information and communications goods and services from the United States.

"National regulators and policy makers worldwide are looking for some way to harness Internet growth and development, and of course, control the flow of communications in the world. Not surprisingly, concerns with the U.S.'s dominance of media flow do not extend to the developing nations alone. Europe and other developed nations have expressed frustrations too.

"So what will be the U.S. position? Indeed, what if anything is the U.S. doing to meet the challenges and concerns of the rest of the world? It isn't clear."

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