Friday, November 23, 2012

New threat to the Internet: ITU


he ITU is the International Telecommunications Union. It is quite an old organization: telegraph old -- ITU originally stood for International Telegraph Union when it was founded in 1865 in Paris. It has always been an international organization for cooperation around communications networks. Now it helps allocate radio spectrums, telecommunications satellite orbits, and set international standards for telecommunications so that networks can communicate from one nation to another. They also help developing nations set up their networks.

However, they are preparing to meet this December and vote on a number of proposals that would affect the governance of the Internet. This organization gives each member country one vote, and is non-transparent. No information is shared with the public, no open discussions ahead of votes. The representatives vote and then the results are announced.

Leaks have revealed several very disturbing issues that the ITU plans to vote on this December at their meeting. According to the video at the link in the previous paragraph, they will be discussing such issues as:

* reviewing and revising International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs)...

* Including ones that allow broadening of reasons for cutting off Internet access (remember Egypt during the Arab Spring?);

* Allowing governments more power to monitor Internet traffic and block it with a heavier hand by defining spam more broadly;

* Rules to charge online content providers to reach the users, and allow the government to cut off those who don't pay.

Visit this link to join the list of those who are protesting to their government.

The image of the laptop in chains is courtesy of the U.S. Small Business Administration at

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