Government officials from around the world will descend on Dubai next month to revise a treaty that could have a major effect on the future of the Internet.
The 193 member countries of the United Nation’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) will meet in Dubai to update the International Telecommunications Regulations treaty for the first time since 1988. The treaty governs how telephone calls and other communications traffic are exchanged internationally.
A lot is at stake in the upcoming negotiations: Observers say some of the proposals put forward by countries for the treaty conference could threaten Internet freedom, encourage online censorship and expand a United Nations agency’s authority over the Internet.
The treaty negotiations run by the ITU will take place in Dubai over a two-week period from Dec. 3 to Dec. 14.
Ambassador Terry Kramer, a former Vodafone executive, will lead the 95-person U.S. delegation during the conference. Members of the U.S. delegation include a mix of Obama administration officials and industry representatives from Google, Verizon, AT&T, Cisco, Microsoft and Facebook. Advocacy groups and trade organizations also have representatives on the delegation.