In just under a month, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) – an agency of the United Nations – will gather government representatives from around the world to discuss proposed Internet governance rules. These closed-door talks surrounding how everyday citizens use and access the Internet are reminiscent of prior and ongoing trade agreements; decisions about how we use the Internet should be made in an open and participatory way.
Under the ITU’s governance, censorship laws introduced by one country would require all other participating countries to adopt those same restrictions, meaning that Internet openness and innovation would be threatened as a result. And from what we know of the negotiations around the ITU, we may be looking at a future where the countries with the worst Internet restrictions would be the ones setting the standards for the rest of the world.
This push for greater control by governments over their citizens is an authoritative measure that will increase access costs, dissolve human rights to privacy and free speech online, and bind our Internet use to a narrow spectrum of ‘approved’ or censored materials. A regression into the past is not what the future for our Internet should look like.
We at OpenMedia have long maintained an approach of “using the Internet to save the Internet”; an idea that has been propelled by our dedicated supporters and Internet freedom community members everywhere. Together, we’re working on safeguarding our own Internet freedoms and promoting awareness for those citizens whose Internet freedoms are becoming compromised.