A conference on the future of the internet has begun in Tunisia. The UN-organised World Summit on the Information Society is unprecedented in scale, bringing together around 23,000 delegates and 50 heads of state.It was opened by Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. He said he hoped the meeting would mark the beginning of a process where poor countries would have the access to information technology enjoyed by rich nations. His administration has been hit by criticism over alleged violations of freedom of expression, including the blocking of opposition websites. There is also controversy over whether the United States should remain in control of how the worldwide web is run. In his speech to the conference, UN boss Kofi Annan said too few people in the world had reaped the benefits of the internet revolution.