The UN Meets on Net Regulation: Not a Cabal, But Not Harmless

Photograph by Erik Von Weber/Getty Images

The Web’s open-accesserati are up in arms about the United Nations International Telecommunications Union meeting taking place in Dubai this week, where some 2,000 delegates from more than 160 countries have assembled to review the 1988 International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs). The ITRs, written when cell phones were Bible-thick and the Internet was a niche pastime, comprise a global treaty that lists interoperability standards. They allowed a tide of deregulation that gave rise to the massive expansion of the Internet; with 2.5 billion people online, the UN body is finally catching up and debating a new set of regulations that extend its authority.

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