They have written to UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon (the ITU is an organ of the UN) to express their "deep concern about a potentially very damaging change to the governance of the Internet."
They claim that "certain countries" are planning to use the ITU's forthcoming World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) to be held in Dubai in December to undermine the current multi-stakeholder approach to Internet Governance.
ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow told the ABC's AM programme: "Frankly a group of countries you wouldn't trust with democratic freedoms or political freedoms - China, Egypt, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia and others are proposing internet restrictions."
"It is a combination of the ITU wanting to expand its mandate and for some countries it is about a belief they can control things more easily if they go through the UN."
He told iTWire "Some countries believe that if they control the DNS they can control content. They can't. [However] The ITU has been pushing for some considerable time to expand their mandate because, quite frankly, they don't have very much to do. Their funding model is reducing; they are looking at ways to get more money and one way to do that would be to grab control of the Internet."
He added: "WCIT will be followed by a series of meetings to May next year when there will be a meeting of the ITU that is designated as being about Internet governance. So getting through WCIT does not mean it is over. WCIT is the first formal attempt by the ITU at a meeting to grab control of the Internet. And they are trying to grab control."
You can read more stories on telecommunications in our newsletter ExchangeDaily, click here to sign up for a free trial...