Google's Cerf Warns that ITU Treaty Talks Bring Threat of Web Censorship
Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet, says he is worried that world governments will try to impose controls at long-awaited meetings in Dubai through Dec. 14.As the International Telecommunication Union was preparing to start 11 days of meetings on Dec. 3 in Dubai, Vint Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist and one of the fathers of today's Internet, sent out a heartfelt message to remind conference participants that the whole world is watching their actions. His fear, wrote Cerf in a Dec. 2 post on the Google Official Blog, is that some of the world's leaders want to "justify the censorship of legitimate speech, or even cut off Internet access in their countries." That, wrote Cerf, must be fought by every Internet user and prevented from happening by contacting government officials and making their voices heard in support of an open and free Internet. The problem, he wrote, is that some of the governments from around the world, which are meeting at the World Conference on International Telecommunications conference in Dubai, oppose such freedoms. The meetings are being held Dec. 3-14 to "revise a decades-old treaty, in which only governments have a vote," wrote Cerf. "Some proposals could allow governments to justify the censorship of legitimate speech, or even cut off Internet access in their countries."
The threats are real, according to Cerf. "You can read more about my concerns on CNN.com, but I am not alone. So far, more than 1,000 organizations from more than 160 countries have spoken up too, and they're joined by hundreds of thousands of Internet users who are standing up for a free and open Internet. On an interactive map at freeandopenweb.com, you can see that people from all corners of the world have signed our petition, used the #freeandopen hashtag on social media, or created and uploaded videos to say how important these issues are."