Google takes action against the ITU for a free and open Internet

Written by Russell Co. Posted in Internet, News

Tagged: , , , , , ,

Published on November 22, 2012 with 1 Comment

The Internet has been a tool that empowers each and everyone of us, connecting us to the world. We can all speak our mind, learn about our world, create content, and share them, all without a single governing body.

In December, less than ten days from now, government representatives from around the world will gather at the UN-organized conference to discuss and agree on a new information and communications treaty. What has the Internet and Google up in arms about this conference are claims that some countries are trying to take control of the Internet. Google has said on their Take Action page that the UN agency “International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is bringing together regulators from around the world to re-negotiate a decades-old communications treaty.”

Now that’s all well and good, but Internet freedom is something a lot of us are passionate about, just think about how the Internet exploded when SOPA came to the scene and when the Anti-Cybercrime Law came to the Philippines. As it is, not all governments support a free and open Internet. Already there are forty-two countries that filter and censor content available to their people. Google feels that these governments are using the closed door meeting to regulate the Internet and that the “ITU is the wrong place to make decision about the future of the Internet” because governments have the only say.

“Proposed changes to the treaty could increase censorship and threaten innovation. 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.” says Google.

Google is asking people from around the world to support their view by adding their name to its online petition. What do you think of the ITU and Google’s stand on the issue? Let us know.

  • CS

    The internet has certainly done a lot of good. At the same time, it has been used to cause unnecessary trouble. For instance, a YouTube video might have caused a widespread outrage in the Middle East that led to deaths.

    A mechanism that automatically filters out contents that can cause more harm than good is ideal but such a mechanism does not exist and will most likely not exist. The most that democratic governments can do is to discourage people from publishing these kinds of contents by subjecting them to punishments that media people (journalists, news anchors, etc.) have long been subjected to.

    If you are living in a democratic country where leaders are freely and fairly elected, then I would not be too worried about overarching censorship. Internet freedom is a popular cause. Any leader or party that attempts to suppress it will most likely not get re-elected.