ITU's World Conference on International Telecommunications is over and, perhaps unsurprisingly for bureaucrats or the UN, no one is actually sure what happened and who won, not even the ITU itself.In the end, several countries refused to sign the final version of the document being debated, an update of the treaty signed at a similar conference in 1988.
The contending issue was over whether the treaty should cover the Internet or not. Until now, it was only about telecommunication standards.
The ITU claimed that the conference would not touch on Internet issues and continues to say that the final version of the document does not apply to the Internet.
However, some last minute changes allow governments to peek into "international communications" passing through their territory.
The US and others took this to mean that, while not explicitly, the treaty did indeed cover the Internet and refused to sign it.
In the end, 89 countries signed the document, out of a total of 144, meaning 55 didn't sign. In terms of people, countries representing some 3.8 billion signed, while those that did not sign add up to 2.6 billion.
Countries that didn't sign are not bound by the new document. Even those that did sign have to ratify the changes and the process is a lengthy one.