By Jennifer Martinez - 11/29/12 05:50 PM EST
Kramer said Russia's proposal would let governments "review [Web] content and say that's purely a national matter," raising concerns over online censorship. He said the proposal would also disrupt the current governance structure of the Internet.
The 193 member countries of the United Nation's International Telecommunications Union (ITU) will meet next week in Dubai to update the telecommunications treaty for the first time since 1988. The U.S. delegation will be led by Kramer, who will be joined by a mix of Obama administration officials and representatives from industry and public interest groups.
The U.S. government and American companies, such as Google, have sounded alarm over proposals submitted for the treaty that they argue will let governments block Web content they don't like and regulate the exchange of information over the Internet.
Kramer told reporters that the U.S. would "vigorously oppose" such proposals and remarked that some countries' submissions "have been alarming." He said the U.S. also takes issue with proposals from some African and Arab nations that would force Web companies — such as Google's YouTube or Netflix — to pay network operators to deliver their data-heavy Web content abroad.
"We are not going to support any type of proposal that sets up new payment regimes that would undermine Internet traffic," Kramer said.
When the conference kicks off, the first order of business for the U.S. will be to define the scope of the treaty and which organizations will be subject to its regulations, according to Kramer. The U.S. wants the treaty language to stay confined to telecommunications and will push to keep measures related to the Internet and cloud computing networks out of the discussions.
Terms related to the Internet open "the door to content and content censorship, and we believe that is inappropriate," Kramer said.
The ITU has been criticized for its handling of the treaty negotiations. Some observers allege that the U.N. agency is trying to make a power grab during the treaty conference and will attempt to assume more authority over the Internet, a charge the ITU has vehemently denied.
Google argued last week that the ITU is shutting the public out of the negotiations and only giving governments a say in the important treaty talks.
But Kramer stood by the ITU's work and argued that the other member countries' proposals are "the most worrisome issue" about the upcoming conference.
"At the end of the day, the ITU is reflecting positions that different member nations are taking," he said. "I don't believe dismantling the ITU is effectively the way to solve that."