With so many things going on, it’s difficult to keep up. But, one thing we should all be watching carefully is taking place halfway around the world, in Dubai – a city in the United Arab Emirates. That’s where the future of your Internet may be decided.
It’s the 2012 World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) and involves about 135 countries.
I’ve been watching the proceedings during this two week event and there’s been more than passing interest expressed in the U.S. media about the future of “our Internet”, which isn’t “ours” at all. In fact, proposals have been leaked to the press suggesting United Nations control over the Internet, but those proposals never made it to the table. Read a summary of that by clicking right here.
According to the report, “Russia and China, along with others like Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Egypt, have and still do indicate that they want more control over how their citizens interact with the rest of the world on the web. China already has its “Great Firewall” — a sprawling collection of censorship tools; gaining access to how web addresses are assigned would give it more control over how it’s citizens access digital information.”
Major private companies, such as Google, have been fighting such proposals on the international stage for some time. Most of their focus has been on maintaining a freedom of speech approach, while most of the Islamic world has been working feverishly to establish rules seriously prohibiting blasphemy, along with other heavy duty restrictions as to what content users can access. And then, of course, there’s China which has been attempting to stifle its citizens access to just about everything under the Sun.
It’s all about control and finances because whoever controls the Internet controls the taxation and the world wide web has long been a target for major taxation by countries far and wide. The mere discussion of the topic brings about massive reaction – especially among free world countries such as the United States. This report alone will appear on search engines (like Google & Bing) and users from around the world will read it just to discover the latest news concerning one of their primary sources of information.
Major web sites, such as CNet, are also following the Dubai conference and you can read their latest report by clicking here.
As you can see, the deadline for possible action on the international level is upon us. “The final texts will be presented on December 13, with the treaty signing scheduled to occur the following day. However, many of the meetings are being conducted behind closed doors, and key documents are withheld from public scrutiny — the opposite of the way traditional Internet standards-setting works.”
Clearly a topic of interest to us all, but with the economy of the United States attracting the major headlines, the conference in Dubai is taking a back seat.
We’ll continue to monitor the goings-on and encourage you to do the same.
You can follow me on Twitter @GoldenEagle and Sarah Noble @IndieSentinel.