US defeats Russia to head UN telecoms agency in fight for internet’s future

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Doreen Bogdan-Martin won a massive majority to lead the International Telecommunication Union, the United Nations agency that sets global standards for telecommunications and technology infrastructure. Doreen Bogdan-Martin received 139 of the 172 votes. The election pitted Western democracies' vision of a more open version of the internet against authoritarian countries' government-controlled approach. Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and Iran have already shown how the internet can be turned into a powerful tool for censorship and to crack down on dissent. “The world is facing significant challenges – escalating conflicts, a climate crisis, food security, gender inequalities, and 2.7 billion people with no access to the Internet,” said Bogdan-Martin after her victory. “I believe we, the ITU and our members, have an opportunity to make a transformational contribution.” Bogdan-Martin will become the first woman to lead the 157-year-old UN agency. She will set the direction for several major telecoms and technology issues including the severe lack of internet connectivity across the world. Only 40 percent of Africans have access to the Internet compared to Europe, the most connected region, where 89 percent of the population has a connection.

US defeats Russia to head UN telecoms agency in fight for internet’s future U.S. and Russia Duel Over Leadership of U.N. Tech Group (NYTimes) Sen Cantwell Releases Statement in Support for U.S. Candidate Doreen Bogdan-Martin to Serve as Secretary General of ITU