US fails to win early limit on Net controls at global gathering
* U.S., Canada sought panel approval to limit ITU rules
* ITU panel's talks continuing -spokesman
* ITU treaty rewrite to weigh anonymity, other issues next week
By Matt Smith and Joseph Menn
DUBAI/SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 4 (Reuters) - A U.S. and Canadian proposal to protect the Internet from new international regulation has failed to win prompt backing from other countries, setting up potentially tough negotiations to rewrite a telecom treaty.
The idea, also supported by Europe, would limit the International Telecommunication Union's rules to only telecom operators and not Internet-based companies such as Google Inc and Facebook Inc.
That could reduce the prospective impact of efforts by other countries including Russia and some in the Middle East and Africa to obtain more powers to govern the Internet through the ITU, an arm of the United Nations. Those efforts, slated for discussion next week, could make Net anonymity - or the ability to remain anonymous online - more difficult to maintain and could bolster censorship, critics say.
"We want to make sure (the rewritten ITU treaty) stays focused squarely on the telecom sector," said U.S. Ambassador Terry Kramer. "We thought we should deal with that up-front."
Kramer had been hoping that a committee comprising representatives from six regional bodies would give quick approval to the American request on Tuesday. But that failed to happen. Continued...