The Netherlands joins US, Canada in UN telecom treaty protest

The Netherlands will refuse to ratify a new United Nations treaty on telecommunications because it ‘stands in the way of a free and open internet’, economic affairs minister Henk Kamp has told parliament.


Although there are internationally-agreed regulations for telecommunications dating from 1988, many countries want to modernise them and include internet.
But now divisions have emerged between western countries and a rival group, including China, Russia, and some Gulf states. They want more government control over the internet and say western dominance needs to be tackled.
In particular, the Netherlands is opposed to spam prevention measures contained in the treaty. These ‘allow room for government control of internet traffic’, Kamp said in his briefing. ‘It is not acceptable to give governments the opportunity to censor internet and put constraints on digital freedom,’ he wrote.
The new measures will come into effect in 2015, but only for the countries which have signed it. The US, Japan, Australia and Canada have also said they will not ratify the treaty.
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