Amb. Kramer: US and allies eliminated '80 to 90 percent' of objectionable proposals for UN treaty

The U.S., U.K. and Canada refused to sign the U.N. treaty last month after the final draft included provisions that could be applied to the Internet. Throughout the negotiations in Dubai last month, the U.S. fought for the scope of the treaty to stay focused on telecommunications networks, and argued that some countries' Internet-related proposals could threaten Internet freedom.

Dozens of other countries said they either will not sign the treaty or will need to consult their governments before signing it.


Kramer led the U.S. delegation during the treaty negotiations.

The U.S. still has concerns with some "ambiguous" definitions included in the final version of the treaty, Kramer said. He argued that some countries could point to these definitions when justifying questionable measures they take on the Internet.

For example, he said countries could potentially use the treaty's definition for spam to monitor Web traffic or block content they disagree with.

However, Kramer cautioned that it's too soon to tell what the lasting effect of the treaty will be because it won't go until effect until 2015.

"We won't know for the next couple years" what the impact of those definitions will be, he said.

Some observers suggested that U.S. tech companies may have to deal with a fragmented Internet, because some countries opted to sign the treaty. Kramer disagreed with that belief.

"Candidly, that is likely not practical — at least at this point," he said. 

This story was updated at 11:21 a.m. to correct Kramer's comments.