Google warns UN’s telecom treaty conference threatens ‘free and open Internet’

Google has warned that upcoming United Nations-organized conference threatens ‘free and open Internet’.

Washington: Google has warned that upcoming United Nations-organized conference threatens ‘free and open Internet’.

Government representatives are set to agree on a new information and communications treaty in December.

It has been claimed that some countries will try to wrest oversight of the Internet’s technical specifications and domain name system from US bodies to an international organization, the BBC reports.

“The [UN agency] International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is bringing together regulators from around the world to renegotiate a decades-old communications treaty,” Google wrote on its Take Action site.

"Some proposals could permit governments to censor legitimate speech - or even allow them to cut off internet access,” it said.

"Other proposals would require services like YouTube, Facebook, and Skype to pay new tolls in order to reach people across borders. This could limit access to information - particularly in emerging markets,” it added.

According to the report, the UN has, however, said there would be consensus before any change was agreed.

Google has asked web users to add their name to an online petition to support its view.

Google added it was concerned that ‘only governments have a voice at the ITU’ and not companies or others who had a stake in the net.

It concluded that the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) was ‘the wrong place’ to make decisions about the Internet’s future, the report said.

However, the ITU has said that each country could invite whoever it likes to be part of its delegation at the meeting.

The ITU has said a new treaty was needed to ensure ‘the free flow of information around the world, promoting affordable and equitable access for all and laying the foundation for ongoing innovation and market growth’.

According to the report, the ITU``s secretary general has said he will try to ensure all decisions have unanimous support.

It added that the growth of the Internet and adoption of mobile phones meant the existing agreement - signed in 1998 - needed to be updated, it added.


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