The World Conference on International Telecommunications organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is still underway in Dubai. It's scheduled to end on December 14th and the parties involved are still discussing the proposals and even making new ones.It's hard to know how the process is going since it's all behind closed doors.
What's clear is that the future of the internet is at stake and that, so far, things aren't looking good.
The conference is supposed to decide whether telecommunication companies, the old legacy ones, get to govern the internet as well and to what extent.
There have been plenty of troubling proposals and it's probably going to get even worse. With no warning, several countries have made a proposal which would make it possible to effectively control IPs and domain names on a local level, superseding what ICANN and IANA are currently in charge of.
There are plenty of problems with ICANN and IANA and their close ties to the US government, despite their supposed independence, is cause for concern for many.
But no one thinks handing over control to countries such as Russia, China, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Sudan, the countries that are backing the proposal, is a good idea.
In the meantime, the criticism of the entire process is building up. Vint Cerf, who is responsible for the TCP/IP protocol that powers the internet and is now Chief Internet Evangelist at Google, has been fighting against the changes discussed in the conference for a long time.
Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, added his voice to the criticism. Berners-Lee is the head of the World Wide Web Consortium, the W3C, a standards body that governs things HTML5. He believes the internet is better served by leaving it as is, it's been working so far and there's no need to change it.