Google launches “Free and Open Web” campaign

Posted On November 22, 2012
In Governance of Cyberspace / Reply

In the lead up to the December World Conference on International Telecommunication (WCIT) in Dubai, Google has launched a campaign rallying against what it says are attempts by some countries to “further regulate the internet” and potentially limit free speech through censorship.

According to Google, there is a growing backlash on Internet freedom: 42 countries filter and censor content, and in just the last two years governments have enacted 19 new laws threatening online free expression. Google claims that the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is bringing together regulators from around the world to re-negotiate a decades-old communications treaty, which could permit governments to censor legitimate speech — or even allow them to cut off Internet access.

IP watch reports that despite speeches by ITU Secretary General Hamadoun Touré making assurances that WCIT is not about internet governance, the most recent proposal tabled by Russia is about this very subject. The Russian WCIT contribution asks for a new chapter on internet in the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs), to address the longstanding complaints by governments like Russia, China and the Arab States – and even some European voices – that all governments should be equal with regard to the assigning of names and numbers and the operation and development of basic infrastructure.

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