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Letter to the Editor:The meeting that could kill the Internet

2012 December 6

Dear CJE -Right now at a meeting in Dubai, world governments are pushing to dramatically expand their powers to censor and control the Internet — we have only 7 days left until their meeting ends to stop them.

The meeting involves 2000 delegates from more than 100 countries who are trying to rewrite a formerly harmless UN treaty into a centralized regulation of the Internet. Two men widely considered to be “fathers of the Internet,” Vint Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee, have both issued alarming warnings that the conference could allow the world’s most authoritarian regimes to justify their censorship of speech or blockages of Internet access to their citizens.

Our massive petitions have stopped attacks like this before and can do it again. Sign the petition to beat back this latest round of Internet hatersand forward this to everyone you know — when we hit 500,000 signers, we’ll deliver the message straight to the desert of Dubai, and shake up their cosy meeting:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/hands_off_our_internet_d/?bSVdsbb&v=19879

The meeting is being convened by a UN body called the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in order to update international communications rules. Normally, this wouldn’t merit much attention, except that enemies of a free Internet like China, Russia and Iran are using the meeting totry to enshrine their worst policies in an international UN treaty.

The same body has already adopted a proposal that will make it easier for governments and corporations to spy on our private online data. Many of the worst proposals will be strongly opposed by northern European and North American governments, but unless we speak up more ugly measures may still pass. And the mere fact that a bunch of governments are considering major changes to how the Internet operates without any votes or input from Internet users is outrageous. Google has already launched a massive push against the meeting, but it’s a private company with profit motives of its own.

To really ensure that the Internet stays free and governed by the public and is not subject to the whims of former Soviet apparatchiks in Russia, we need to show the UN and the world that we won’t stand this kind of government overreach any further. Sign now and share with everyone:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/hands_off_our_internet_d/?bSVdsbb&v=19879

Avaaz members have come together before to save the free web — and won. Over 3 million of us demanded the US kill a bill that would have given the government the right to shut down any website, pushing the White House to drop their support. In the EU, the European Parliament responded after 2.8 million of us called on them to drop ACTA, another threat to the free net. Together, now we can to do it again.

With hope,

Pascal, Ian, Paul, Luca, Caroline and the rest of the Avaaz team

SOURCES

Cerf and Berners Lee Criticize ITU Conference (IT Pro Portal) http://www.itproportal.com/2012/12/05/sir-tim-berners-lee-joins-criticism-of-un-internet-regulation-talks/#ixzz2EDlH06f5

ITU and Google face off at Dubai conference over future of the internet (Guardian):
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/dec/03/telecoms-unitednations

Keep the Internet Open (New York Times):
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/25/opinion/keep-the-internet-open.html?_r=1&

Bitter struggle over Internet regulation to dominate global summit (Reuters):
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/27/net-us-un-internet-idUSBRE8AQ06320121127

Who controls the Internet? (Guardian):
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/oct/17/who-rules-internet

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