The free and open nature of the Internet is one of the reasons it's an integral part of our lives. For all these years that the Internet has been around, it has been an important medium through which people have got their voices heard.
However, away in Dubai, the governments of the world are engaged in a closed-door meeting, with the regulation of the Internet as their agenda. In an official blog post, Google's Vint Cerf, VP and Chief Internet Evangelist shares that the conference convened by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is to revise an old treaty, in which only governments have a vote. The conference that started yesterday would go on till December 14. What's crucial here is that few of the proposals could let governments 'justify the censorship of legitimate speech, or even cut off Internet access in their countries.'
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Cerf writes further, "Our protocols were designed to make the networks of the Internet non-proprietary and interoperable. They avoided “lock-in,” and allowed for contributions from many sources. This openness is why the Internet creates so much value today. Because it is borderless and belongs to everyone, it has brought unprecedented freedoms to billions of people worldwide: the freedom to create and innovate, to organize and influence, to speak and be heard."
Speaking about the issue at hand, Cerf adds that the issue has seen over 1,000 organizations from more than 160 countries speak up. These are backed by several thousands of Internet users, who are for a free and open Internet. In addition to that, an interactive map at freeandopenweb.com, will show users that people from all corners of the world have signed Google's petition. These users have also used the #freeandopen hashtag on social media, and have created and uploaded videos to say how important these issues are.
Likewise, if you support an open and free Internet, too, you can sign the petition at google.com/takeaction. Similarly, those on Google.com, will be able to spot a link below the search button.
Those wanting to stay updated on the Internet policy initiatives, can fill in their email id, location and first name/ alias and hit on Submit. There is also a video that has been uploaded, showing users from across the globe, voicing their demand for a free and open Internet. You can watch it below.
If you want to add your voice to this petition, then you need to hit on the Add Your Voice option, and enter in your first name/alias, say why is a free and open Internet important to you and add in your location.
Back home too, the topic of free Internet has become a topic of debate in recent times. Communications Minister Kapil Sibal recently stressed that the Internet requires not only governance, but transparency and accountability on the part of the user. Sibal opines that the user should be free to express his/her opinion, while being accountable for what is being said. “Above all managing the Internet needs consensus amongst stakeholders – Government, business, civil society, etc,” added Sibal, while inaugurating a conference.
Sibal was speaking at the India Internet Governance Conference (IIGC 2012) organised by FICCI in Delhi, in association with the Ministry of Communications and IT, and the Internet Society.
Have you signed the petition. Let us know your views on it.