Internet activists on red alert ahead of United Nations conference

How the ITU could put the Internet behind closed doors
November 16, 2012

Credit: Felixgrup/Wikimedia Commons)

Internet activists are warning that next month’s meeting of the International Telecommunications Union, a United Nations body charged with overseeing global communications, may have significant and potentially disastrous consequences for everyday Internet users, Mashable reports.

Called the World Conference on International Telecommunications, the meeting is intended to update some of the aging international law that governs the flow of information online. The meeting is mostly closed to the public, so the few details we do know about various proposals are largely thanks to leaks, many of which are published on WCITleaks.

What we do know is that at least some of the proposals could allow governments more power to clamp down on Internet access or tax international traffic, either of which are anathema to the idea of a free, open and international Internet. Other proposals would move some responsibility for Internet governance to the United Nations.

Fight For the Future and Access, two Internet advocacy groups, are joining forces to launch an informational campaign and petition urging citizens to oppose letting the ITU handle decisions about Internet governance.