Ambassador: Iran helped make Internet access a ‘human right’

“Because human rights are well understood to involve providing rights to individuals,” said Gross, “often at the expense of governments, such a provision turns the concept of ‘human rights’ on its head by creating new rights for governments (not individuals) to avoid international sanctions that are often imposed to help individuals fight repressive governments.”

“Such a provision alone should make the revised ITRs unacceptable to any thoughtful country,” he said.

The U.S., along with 54 other countries — including the U.K., Canada, Australia, Poland, Sweden, Kenya, India and others — did not sign the new treaty, making them bound by the previous version of the treaty.

A total of 89 countries signed the new treaty, including Afghanistan, Bahrain, China, Cuba, Iran, Russia and various African states.

The panelists also spoke about their expectations for the coming years, and the responsibility of Western governments, companies and members of civil society.

Panelists, in addition to Gross, included: FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell; Bitange Ndemo, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communications for the Government of Kenya; Sally Shipman Wentworth, Senior Manager of Public Policy for the Internet Society; and Harold Feld, Senior Vice President at Public Knowledge.

The new version of the treaty is expected to take effect January 2015.

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