The International Telecommunications Union, the official telecom arm of the United Nations, in charge of coordinating global interoperability of systems and international regulatory matters, on Friday announced a landmark decision: It will for the first time be making copies of a formerly secret diplomatic treaty proposal public on its website in the coming days.
"The world is changing, in large part thanks to the growth in telecommunications facilitated by the ITU, and we need to adapt to that changing world," said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré in a statement posted on the ITU's website.
The move comes ahead of a conference to renegotiate the international telecommunications regulations for the first time since the 1980s through a new treaty. Concerns have been raised by U.S. Web activists and lawmakers that Russia, Arab states, and China could "hijack" the conference and use it to legitimize state censorship of the Web. The ITU itself has been criticized for allowing this potential situation, as well as for not publicly publishing the proposals for new regulations from various member states until now, previously restricting them to paying entities. Now the ITU says it will publish its master document, TD64, on its website soon.