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Financial Post: UN Web conference begins amid criticism from open Internet advocates

Posted by OpenMedia on Mon, 12/03/2012 - 00:00

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) discussions are underway – leaving citizens worldwide to question the motivations of some of the countries involved.

These discussions could lead to strict Internet governance, increased access costs and an erosion of human rights online. Send a message directly to your ITU delegates at www.ProtectInternetFreedom.net/Stand.

Article by Christine Dobby for Financial Post

As a 12-day international conference on Internet regulation kicks off in Dubai, critics are warning that the closed-door meeting could lead to censorship and even blocked access to the Web in certain countries.
 
The World Conference on International Telecommunications — known as WCIT — runs from Monday to Dec. 14 in the United Arab Emirates city, with a mandate to review a set of regulations first set in 1988.
 
Representatives from more than 190 member states will vote on new proposals — submitted confidentially — at the conference, which has come under fire from advocates of Internet freedom.
 
In a blog post titled “Keep the Internet free and open” published Sunday, Internet pioneer Vint Cerf, whose current role is vice-president and chief Internet evangelist for Google Inc., highlighted his concerns about the process.
 
The International Telecommunication Union, the United Nations agency behind the meeting, says the regulations under review (known as the International Telecommunications Regulations) act as a binding global treaty intended to “facilitate international interconnection and interoperability.”
 
But Mr. Cerf and others have questioned the role the UN agency should have in global Internet regulation and whether it is attempting to gain more power in that sphere than appropriate.
 
“Some proposals could allow governments to justify the censorship of legitimate speech, or even cut off Internet access in their countries,” Mr. Cerf wrote, noting that more than 1,000 groups from more than 160 countries have signed on to a statement to protect global Internet freedom in reaction to the gathering.
 
More than 300 Canadian groups have signed on, ranging from open-Internet advocacy organization OpenMedia.ca to universities, high schools, unions, yoga studios and radio stations. Read more »
 
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Read more at Financial Post