Stop the Secrecy

Wired: The UN shouldn't make decisions behind closed doors

Sun, 12/02/2012 - 00:00 -- OpenMedia

This week, global governments are participating in closed-door discussions held through the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) – an agency of the United Nations. Their goal is to update a telecommunications treaty – but certain repressive governments are planning to use this as an opportunity to drastically change citizens' Internet use.

With your support, we've begun to see government representatives condemn this ITU attempt to erode human rights online. Join us alongside a global coalition of voices to

Article by Brett Solomon for

Behind closed doors, decisions will be made next week that could threaten the global, open internet. This isn’t a sky-is-falling cry: There could be very real consequences both in how we use the internet and how it’s governed.
A relatively unknown United Nations agency called the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is hosting the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) from Dec. 3 to 14. And it’s an opaque, government-controlled event.
The goal is to update a decades-old treaty, the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs). But certain countries appear to be attempting a quiet “coup” in updating the ITRs – one that could violate our rights online while leaving users less secure and with slower service.
It’s worth acknowledging that the ITU does a lot of important work. It sets spectrum and technology standards, has done much to improve global interoperability and efficiency, and helped increase access to information and communication technologies in developing nations.
And let’s face it: Given the dominance of the U.S. government, the current model of internet governance is not perfect, and urgently needs to include more voices from around the world.
Yet there’s an incurable, inherent problem with the ITU: Only governments get to vote. And that’s antithetical to how decisions about the internet are made. The ITU’s very nature should disqualify it from deciding how the internet is governed, especially when those decisions would be made by way of a binding international treaty.
But it’s the process here that reveals the most about the ITU priorities, and who can participate. Read more »