Vint Cerf: The Internet doesn’t need the ITU’s help

ACM News 14/12/2012

Efforts to devise new regulations for the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) could harm the Internet, warns Google executive and ACM president Vint Cerf. He says “the Internet is under threat,” and says delegates at the WCIT may try to extend the ITU’s power over the Internet. “The natural reaction of any institution that wants to preserve its existence is to reach out for new territory,” Cerf says. No one is in charge of the Internet and this lack of control seems to perplex government officials, he says, with the push for new ITU guidelines coming from authoritarian governments that are members of WCIT and want to restrict the Internet. “If you are an authoritarian government, then the Internet is a threat,” Cerf notes. “The Internet is the most democratizing engine ever invented.” He says the WCIT’s efforts also could be an attempt by the ITU to extend its reach to the Internet, especially as its own influence appears to be waning. Cerf suggests that nations work together informally to combat Internet problems such as viruses and spam, similar to the way the Internet Engineering Task Force operates.

More info: InfoWorld (12/13/12) Joab Jackson

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