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ITU Adopts Resolution Inviting Members to Keep Hands off 'Net

In its continuing effort to convince nervous members like
the U.S. that the upcoming telecom treaty conference in Dubai (it starts Dec.
3) will not be a referendum on greater government control of the Internet, ITU
Thursday announced it had adopted a resolution to that effect...sort of.

ITU announced that its members had adopted a resolution
"inviting" members to "refrain from taking any unilateral and/or
discriminatory actions that could impede another Member State from accessing
public Internet sites and using resources."

The U.S. is concerned that proposals by China, Russia and
others to expand the definition of telecom to include broadband could open the
door to just such greater government control.

"Just days away from the World Conference on International
Telecommunications (WCIT-12), the adoption of this Resolution underlines ITU's
commitment to a free and inclusive information society," said Hamadoun
Touré, secretary general of the ITU. "This should send a strong message to
the international community about accusations that ITU's membership wishes to
restrict the freedom of speech. Clearly the opposite is true. It is in this
spirit -- fostering an Internet whose benefits are open to all -- that I would
like to head into WCIT-12."

The U.S. would, too, but is unlikely to take invitations to
refrain as a signal that all is well.