Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Red Letter Day for the Internet we know and love

On the face of it the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), taking place next week in Dubai, seems innocuous. However, the decisions made by governments at WCIT could redefine the international regulatory environment for the Internet - impacting how people around the world are able to use the Internet.

Who remembers the days when it would cost us money every time we picked up the phone and placed a call. The reason for that in the analog world was, "Somebody has to pay to use this service". With VOIP and the digital world, we now pay a monthly "subscription" for unlimited usage of our phones. The complex world of the Internet and its interconnected global network is currently working on the same principle - of paying a subscription to the service provider. The ITU (International Telecommunications Union) is looking to change this and is considering taking us back to the (more regulated) analog world. WSJ's Gordon Crovitz has written an excellent article talking about the far reaching consequences of this conference. Some countries are looking at this "additional regulation" as "an opportunity for censorship".

Companies like Google are spearheading a campaign saying, "A free and open world depends on a free and open Internet. Governments alone, working behind closed doors, should not direct its future. The billions of people around the globe who use the internet should have a voice." You can add your voice and sign the petition to support a free and open internet here.

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