Last week Google launched their campaign for a free and open Internet against the fast-approaching World Conference on International Telecommunication (WCIT-12) to be held in Dubai by the International Telecommunications Union. The WCIT-12 is a UN-organized conference to be held on December 3-14 to discuss and re-negotiate a decades-old communications treaty and agree on a new information and communications treaty relevant to our time.
Google felt that the WCIT-12 could be used by governments as a way to censor the Internet and limit access to information. They also claimed that governments alone were working behind closed doors to determine the fate of the Internet as we know it.
The ITU have responded to these claims and said that this is not the case. According to a blog post by Paul Conneally, Head of Communications and Partnership Promotion Division of the ITU, the “ITU’s goal is to continue enabling the Internet, as it has done since the Internet’s inception.” He goes on to say that the ” freedom of expression and the right to communicate are already enshrined in many UN and international treaties that ITU has taken into account in the establishment of its Constitution and Convention, and also its mandate by the Plenipotentiary Conference, which is the Supreme Organ of ITU.” None of the Plenipotentiary Conference Resolutions which were agreed to by consensus in 2010 can be changed at the WCIT-12. The blog post also stated that the “closed-door” meeting includes 193 national delegations comprised of governments, private sector companies, and civil society organizations. They also note that Google representatives are part of the United States delegation as well.
Whatever the case may be, the future of the Internet is in the hands of 193 national delegations, set to agree on a new information and communications treaty on December 3-14.