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The International Telecommunications Regulations, or ITR, is an information and communications treaty that was first agreed upon in 1988, under the influence of the United Nations' International Telecommunication Union (ITU). It outlines rules for how traffic should flow between telecom networks and how to calculate charges for traffic between different international carriers interfacing with one another. The treaty has not been updated since its signing in 1988.[1]

From December 3rd to December 14th, 2012, the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) will be held in Dubai to discuss updates to the treaty. Government representatives from 178 nations around the world will be participating. Any changes to the treaty must have unanimous support, as the ITU does not traditionally use a voting system. However, the ITU's Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure noted to the BBC that if there were serious disagreements to drafting a new treaty, a majority vote may be required.[1]

Of the goals of the updated treaty, the ITU has said that it hopes to ensure "the free flow of information around the world, promoting affordable and equitable access for all and laying the foundation for ongoing innovation and market growth".[2]

One major aspect of the treaty could include a change in internet governance structures, from regulation under a U.S.-based group like ICANN to a more global organization.[3]

High-profile organizations like Google[4] and governments like the European Parliament and the U.S. government have opposed ITU control of the internet with public statements.[2][5]

Possibly proponents of ITU control of the internet include the Russian and Chinese governments.[2][6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Google attacks UN's internet treaty conference, Published 22 November 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 European Parliament warns against UN internet control, Published 22 November 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  3. Google says ITU is 'the wrong place to make decisions about the future of the Internet', Published 22 November 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  4. Take Action,
  5. US resists control of internet passing to UN agency, Published 7 August 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  6. Russian Federation,