Stop The Net Grab: 11th hour for Internet regulation
Thanks to everyone who has been supporting our Stop the Net Grab campaign, to call for a pause and change of approach at the UN International Telecommunication Union’s conference in Dubai. Over 100,000 people have supported the global union petition to the ITU, and petitions from other civil society organisations such as AccessNow and Avaaz bring the total up to nearly one million.
The public profile of the campaigns has really been felt in Dubai, and significant changes have been made to some of the original proposals that had caused many people such concern. However, the final text of the new International Telecommunication Regulations includes a resolution that explicitly provides for ITU and governments’ involvement in regulating how people choose to use the Internet (Resolution/PLEN 3).
This regulation was only introduced at the last minute, and forced through without adequate discussion in plenary, after Russia had withdrawn their similar controversial proposal from the main text. The treaty also contains a number of other provisions that we’re concerned could affect the open Internet, human rights and free expression online.
As the conference wraps up, it’s looking as though a significant number of governments, including the UK, will now refuse to sign the overall treaty, or will at least reserve decision until they have consulted stakeholders at home .
We’re urging governments not to sign the ITRs as they stand, and to seek a better agreement. There are many good developments that have come out of this conference, and been incorporated into the treaty, but as it stands it is putting the open Internet at risk, and are a severe threat to international civil society and human rights online.