“If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” ― George Washington
Well, here they come again. The UN has devised yet another plan to strip away a little more freedom from those who use the Internet. This time they come to seize more control of the online experience. They want to decide who has the right to see what’s on the Internet. And here’s a shocker. There may be some taxes involved.
Another disturbing aspect of the Summit is that it will be held in secret sessions. The meeting itself is, of course, public knowledge, but what will take place behind closed doors is not.
The summit supposedly is focused on revising an older treaty that was approved in 1988 called the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs). This was ratified before the Internet became what it is today.
This UN Summit is set to take place in Dubai this week. It is sponsored by an organization called the International Telecommunications Union or ITU. So what is the ITU? From their own website we learn this about the ITU:
ITU (International Telecommunication Union) is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies – ICTs.
Their homepage goes on to say: ITU is committed to connecting all the world’s people – wherever they live and whatever their means. Through our work, we protect and support everyone’s fundamental right to communicate.
This last statement seems to militate against what is apparently the purpose of this upcoming Summit. As I understand it, the purpose is to impose more regulations and control over the Internet and restrict some current freedoms. This cannot be good for Earth’s millions of users especially in repressed countries.
Any meeting with the UN involved usually does not bode well for the United States. This one will probably be no different. Those who cherish Internet freedom need to take notice and take action if necessary. Keep a keen eye out for developments this week and beyond.
Conservatives are not the only ones who are on guard right now. Google, for one, is raising the visibility of this meeting with the hopes of diminishing any impact the summit will have. Google claims that some of the world’s governments “are trying to use a closed-door meeting in December to regulate the Internet.” We could and should ask the question why this summit is not an open forum.
Google’s attorney Matt Ryan also offered this up to raise our awareness and concern:
“If you have a speaker of any kind who wants to speak on the Internet…if they suddenly have to pay a toll to be able to do that, that’s really going to quell speech”
According to a CNET report, Google is in good company in sounding the alarm. Google is joined by the European Parliament, the Internet Society, and other influential individuals and various world civil liberties groups.
I already called my Senator’s office to inquire who will represent the United States. It is the responsibility of the Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice. The person who will actually attend is unknown, but her office is a place to lodge your opposition.
The implications of this treaty taking effect are staggering when you dive into the details and various proposals which are being forwarded by world governments. Some of our favorite services like Facebook and Youtube could face financial fees to reach across borders. The end effect of this would most likely be new fees to users.
There is a possiblity, if some dictatorships and communist governments get their way, that they would be able to censor or cut off the internet at will. We must remember that whoever controls the communications, controls everything else.
If you want to delve further into the details of the upcoming Summit visit these sites: