The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) — a 150-year-old body that sets rules for how much of the global telecom and tech infrastructure works — will gather at end of September in Bucharest for a three-week conference. The more than 190 member countries will elect a new secretary-general and other top brass, as well as set the policy goals for the U.N. agency for the next four years. The two candidates for the top job, Doreen Bogdan-Martin, an American, and Rashid Ismailov, a Russian, have crisscrossed the globe to rally support from telecom policymakers and regulators. […]
In one corner stand the European Union, United States and other Western democracies that support a more free-for-all version of the internet. They defend a core belief that countries should not dictate how the digital world is run and push for the involvement of nonprofit organizations and companies in how these rules are created.
In the other is China, Russia and other authoritarian countries. They have consistently called for a model that would place politicians in the driver’s seat over tech standards to give governments the final say over what can appear online. They have targeted the ITU — a U.N. agency where countries dominate over other entities — as a central lobbying venue to push their agenda, which, if successful, would overturn the version of the internet that has existed for the last 40 years. Läs artikel