The campaign to elect the next Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union has entered the final stretch, with UN member states assembling in Bucharest, Romania this week to cast their votes between the Russian-supported and US-backed candidates vying for the top job.
The ITU is the UN body responsible for telecommunications, radio, satellite and information and communications technology standards setting. An important technical institution most people have never heard of, in recent years the ITU has emerged at the centre of geostrategic competition over Russian and Chinese-led efforts to increase the control of nation states over the internet.
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U.S. and Russia Duel Over Leadership of U.N. Tech Group
The United States and Russia are tussling over control of a United Nations organization that sets standards for new technologies, part of a global battle between democracies and authoritarian nations over the direction of the internet.
American officials are pushing more than 190 other member countries of the International Telecommunication Union, a U.N. agency that develops technical standards for technology like cellphone networks and video streaming, to vote on Thursday for Doreen Bogdan-Martin, a longtime American employee, to lead the organization. She is running against Rashid Ismailov, a former Russian government official.
Why Biden and Blinken Are Backing a Candidate for a Little-Known U.N. Internet Agency
A little-known U.N. agency that develops worldwide technical standards for the internet will gain unfamiliar geopolitical attention as scientists, engineers, and government officials descend on Bucharest, Romania, this week.
This Vote Could Change the Course of Internet History: UN countries preparing to pick a new head of the ITU. Who wins could shape the open web’s future.
This week in Romania, a US State Department candidate is facing a Russian challenger in an election for the leadership of one of the most important international technology bodies in the world.
Who wins could determine whether the internet remains a relatively decentralized and open platform—or begins to centralize into the hands of nation-states and state-run companies that may want great control over what their citizens see and do online. Yet, with just days to go before the vote, the race for secretary-general of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has garnered painfully little attention.