FCC commissioner calls for defunding UN agency

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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A U.S. official called for the defunding of a U.N. agency on Thursday if the agency continues to attempt to assert international regulatory authority over the Internet.

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai proposed that the U.S. withdraw its financial support for the International Telecommunication Union, (ITU) a U.N. agency, The Washington Post reports.

The ITU came to prominence when nations met in Dubai in December 2012 to renegotiate an international telecommunications treaty credited with paving the way for the Internet.

While no consensus was achieved among the nations at the December 2012 ITU conference, the U.S. and its allies walked out of the meeting after support for a new international regulatory regime over the Internet found massive support among many conference attendants.

Mideast Emirates Internet Conference.JPEG

Nations are scheduled to meet in South Korea in November to further discuss the future of the ITU.

The U.S. is the largest annual contributor to the budget of the agency, contributing $11 million annually, accounting for 7.7 percent of the ITU’s annual budget. Japan is agency’s the second largest financial contributor.

“If the organization decides to become an international regulatory authority for the Internet we will have to ask ourselves whether the United States should remain one of its top two funders,” said Pai, speaking at a Washington conference on Thursday.

The revelations about the West’s counter-terrorism Internet surveillance apparatus, however, have damaged U.S. credibility with regard to Internet freedom, and the backlash against U.S. Internet companies has caused the industry to worry about loss of trust from users across the world.

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Josh Peterson