Courtesy of Larry Downes and the (indispensable) WCITLeaks.org document repository, some evidence that the UN is gearing up for a public relations push in support of what Downes is (rightly) calling the “Anti-Internet Treaty” — viz., various proposals on the table at the upcoming World Conference on International Telecommunications which would give the UN’s International Telecommunications Union jurisdiction over setting Internet standards. This is starting to feel, to me, a lot like the SOPA debates felt, six months or so before the dam broke and all hell broke loose.
It’s really easy to make the case that the ITU has, and should continue to have, absolutely nothing to do with the rules and protocols for the global TCP/IP network (which grew to its current prominence, of course, precisely because the ITU and the UN had absolutely nothing to do with its development and deployment). It’s a little more difficult to say exactly how the Internet should be “governed,” whether it needs to be ‘governed,’ what form that “governance” should take, and similar questions that are going to become increasingly important, I think, over the next decade or so. If any of you happen to be in DC on Thursday, I’ll be speaking at a New America Foundation/Slate/ASU conference on Internet governance on Thursday morning, trying to figure out a way to think about some of these questions.