The United Nations has been denied control over the internet due to officials from western democracies such as Canada, UK and the U.S. refusing to sign the new telecommunications treaty.
"The Internet has given the world unimaginable economic and social benefits during these past 24 years – all without UN regulation," said U.S. Ambassador Terry Kramer in Dubai.
"Internet policy should not be determined by member states but by citizens, communities, and broader society, and such consultation from the private sector and civil society is paramount. This has not happened here."
The World Conference on International Telecommunications was originally scheduled to rewrite the International Telecommunications Regulations established in 1988. However, there were widespread worries regarding this enabling online censorship and spying from certain governments.
"This conference was never meant to focus on internet issues," said Kramer, "however, today we are in a situation where we still have text and resolutions that cover issues on spam and also provisions on internet governance."
"We all agreed that content was not intended to be part of the [treaty], but content issues keep coming up," said the British delegation. Canada, meanwhile, stressed that the treaty posed a risk to its commitment to an internet "in which people are free to participate, communicate, organize and exchange information."
Opposition to the treaty was also expressed by Sweden, Kenya, Denmark, Egypt and Costa Rica, with over 80 countries refusing to sign the bill. "[It's] with a heavy heart and a sense of missed opportunities that the U.S. must communicate that it is not able to sign the agreement in the current form."
Before the UN gathered in Dubai to discuss possible power over controlling the open web, the U.S. government unanimously voted on officially opposing U.N. control of the internet. Preceding that was the ruling that prevents law enforcement from searching through American citizens' emails, private Facebook messages, Twitter direct messages, Google Docs files, among others.