A “dark agenda” for governing the Internet

Safeguarding a free Internet , Gordon Smith and Mark Raymond, Globe and Mail (Dec 5)

There’s a world conference underway in Dubai on international telecommunications with governance of the Internet the main agenda item – and not likely to the good judging from this article and a related one by Don Tapscott.

There are proposals that would allow states to collect fees, and others that would enable increased state surveillance and control over what flows through the Internet. The nations that want to keep multistakeholder ways of today aren’t organized around a vision – says Gordon Smith.

Don Tapscott summed it up as

“Defenders of an open Internet are concerned about a dark agenda at the Dubai meeting. “Many states and corporations would like to get a stranglehold on the Internet,” says Tim Berners-Lee, the Web’s inventor. “The multistakeholder system that governs the Internet works well and we need to preserve its openness.””

[Governing the Web (and everything else)]

Vincent Cerf, one of the founders of the Internet and the “chief internet evangelist” at Google is very worried – as we see in The Fight for a Free and Open Internet by Paula Hane in Newsbreaks (Dec 3).

““At Google, we see and feel the dangers of the government-led net crackdown,” he says. “We operate in about 150 countries around the globe. Our services—including Search, YouTube and Blogger, to Gmail and Maps—have been blocked at some point, temporarily or permanently, in more than 30 different countries.””

The public interest group Access Now sees the dangers and is asking for everyone who cares about openness and transparency to sign its petition at https://www.accessnow.org/page/s/itu..

“The internet belongs to all of us – not to governments, and certainly not to the ITU. We call upon you to release your preparatory documents; recognize the role of the user, and reject any proposals that might centralize control of the internet. “