The Closed Internet and the US Strategy in Dubai

As we have been discussing the last week or so, a gathering held by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in Dubai is discussing ideas for enabling limits and controls by foreign governments on the internet. I wish I could report on the results, but in keeping with the spirit of the meeting, all proceeding are confidential and will not be released to the public.

However, for those readers in the US, now is the time to contact your Congressperson because our Government is failing to show any backbone in the discussion.

Rather than stand firm on a free and open internet, which interestingly enough is at the heart of what the Administration is claiming as the hope for our economic malaise, it has chosen to “engage.” State Department Ambassador, Terry Kramer, is buying into limits by trying to find partners to limit the scope of any restrictions, rather than declare support for the status quo. It is not a surprise that the ideas the USA and partners Canada and Europe have put forth have been met with lukewarm support.

Now is the time to lead. Either eavesdropping on traffic, as proposed by the Russians and the Iranians, or a “sending party pays” approach where governments could set rates for companies such as Twitter and Facebook, along with Amazon and Google, will severely impact the business of the internet, as well as its ability to continue to help likeminded people communicate and gather.

While everything that happens over the internet is not necessarily in the best interest of all people, human history has seen that when freedom of speech is choked off, people suffer. Don’t let this happen – let your Congressperson know that you do not support ITU proposals to limit the internet.

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