Later this month, diplomats from around the world will assemble in Bucharest, Romania. On September 29, the doors to one of the 1100 rooms within the enormous Palace of Parliament, built at the behest of the country’s former communist dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, will close.
No one will be allowed in or out and voting for what a former US communications regulation chief has described as “the most important election you have never heard of” will begin.
Romania’s Palace of Parliament is the world’s heaviest building and is so vast because it was intended to accommodate the country’s entire federal bureaucracy. Credit:AP
At stake is the position of secretary-general for the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a United Nations agency that already sets the standards for things like phone calls and radio frequencies and could, if authoritarian states get their way, do the same for the internet. Australia is among its 10 largest financial backers.
“It’s an election that will determine the future of cyberspace,” wrote International Strategy Forum fellow Mercedes Page in a piece for the non-partisan Lowy Institute's Interpreter.