Today, dignitaries and representatives from many of the world’s governments will converge on Dubai to hold closed-door meetings to discuss various international interests, including the United Nations taking control of the Internet. This is being seen as the preliminary attempt to take over the Internet and is being opposed by thousands of organizations and millions of people, including Google VP and “Father of the Internet” Vint Cerf.
Cerf and Bob Kahn are considered the two most influential in the founding of the modern Internet, developing the protocols and structures that underly much of what we use today In a piece on CNN, Cerf points out that about 42 countries filter and censor Internet content (out of 72 studied) – 42 not counting Cuba, North Korea, and China.
Today, a closed-door meeting of the International Telecommunication Union has several of these censoring countries in attendance. Many believe that with talk of taxing the Internet globally, with talk of putting “controls” on it, etc., this meeting will be the first of several with a goal towards giving control of the ‘Net to the UN.
According to Cerf:
“The ITU is bringing together regulators from around the world to renegotiate a decades-old treaty that was focused on basic telecommunications, not the internet. Some proposals leaked to the WICITLeaks website from participating states could permit governments to justify censorship of legitimate speech — or even justify cutting off internet access by reference to amendments to the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs).”
So is Cerf the only one concerned? Hardly. Adi Robertson at TheVerge calls it a New World Order scheme. According to ZDnet, the entire Australian government is protesting the move by the UN. Even PCWorld got into politics on this one, with Christina DesMarais penning a piece on the Dubai meeting.
Is this meeting of concern? By itself, not really, but it’s likely the beginning of a much more sinister trend. Every government, including our own, has made moves to control the Internet and all of these can be seen as infringements on the freedom that the ‘Net and only the ‘Net can provide to everyone in the world. That is something we should all be concerned with.