Update: 14 December 2012
Fantastic news -- today, people power stopped authoritarian regimes from putting the internet under crazy government control. Empowered by public opposition, dozens of countries refused to sign the ITU treaty -- making it effectively dead. But this won’t be the last threat to our free Internet. Let's keep signing and sharing to keep up the pressure for an open Internet!
Between December 3rd and December 17th, the world's governments are meeting behind closed doors at the UN's International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to discuss the future of the Internet. Some governments want to use this meeting in Dubai to increase censorship and regulate the Internet. They want to to review the current structure of online services, and to secure "the free flow of information around the world, promoting affordable and equitable access for all".
The Internet has been an amazing example of people power -- allowing us to connect, speak out and pressure leaders like never before. That's largely because it's been governed to date by users and non-profits and not governments. Tim Berners Lee, one of the "fathers of the Internet," has warned that this could increase censorship online and invade our privacy. But if we object with a massive people-powered petition, we can strengthen the hand of countries fighting this power grab.
“A free and open world depends on a free and open Internet. Governments alone, working behind closed doors, should not direct its future. The billions of people around the globe who use the Internet should have a voice.
Some proposals could permit governments to censor legitimate speech or even allow them to cut off Internet access, other proposals would require services like YouTube, Facebook, and Skype to pay new tolls in order to reach people across borders. This could limit access to information particularly in emerging markets.” -Google
A free and open world depends on a free and open web. And a free and open web depends on me. Tell the world's governments YOU support a FREE and OPEN Web. Sign the Petition!
The United Nations should not be allowed to 'take over the Internet', European MPs have urged. MPs voted in favour of a resolution which said the move would “negatively impact the internet, its architecture, operations, content and security, business relations, internet governance and the free flow of information online”.
Russia and other countries are reportedly worried that some element of control over a vital communications network is in the 'hands' of one nation. In a leaked document online, Russian officials said: “Member states shall have equal rights to manage the internet, including in regard to the allotment, assignment and reclamation of internet numbering, naming, addressing and identification resources and to support for the operation and development of basic internet infrastructure.”
Currently the Internet is controlled by a range of groups, many based in the United States. They include ICANN, which is a nonprofit group in California that maintains the web address system on behalf of the US government.
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