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"The Internet Society believes that decisions made by governments at WCIT could redefine the international regulatory environment for the Internet and telecoms in the 21st century and beyond, impacting how people around the world are able to use the Internet," the group states on its Web site.
ISOC isn't the only group that's concerned about WCIT. The U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously in August to send a message to the ITU that the Internet doesn't need additional regulation. The proposal that sparked the ire of the Congress would allow countries to tax incoming and outbound telecommunications traffic and impose Internet traffic termination fees.
Internet pioneers such as Scott Bradner are worried about a proposal that would apply the telephone-oriented concept of the "sender party network pays" to the Internet. Bradner argues that this principle would threaten free content on the Internet by requiring content providers to pay ISPs to deliver data to customers.
With WCIT opening on Dec. 3, the debate surrounding the role that ITU should play in Internet standardization and regulation will likely reach a fevered pitch in the days ahead.
For example, Google made a public announcement in favor of a continued free and open Internet and against what it calls "closed-door meetings" by government regulators at the ITU. Google launched an online pledge that it calls "Take Action" for Internet users to sign in protest of WCIT.
In response, the ITU issued a blog post criticizing Google for erroneously saying WCIT will be a forum for increased censorship and regulation of the Internet. ITU argues that Google should have joined the group as a member if it wanted more access to its proceedings.
"ITU's goal is to continue enabling the Internet as it has done since the Internet's inception," the ITU assured.
To keep an eye on the fireworks between the IETF and the ITU during December, visit this compendium of WCIT-related news that's being compiled by the Internet Society.
Read more about lans & wans in Network World's LANs & WANs section.