There is currently a desire by various authoritarian states like Russia, China and Saudi Arabia to use the ITU meeting that is taking place at the moment to rewrite the rulebook for international telecommunications and the Internet. This goal is to establish a more restrictive Internet service that allows these states to have greater control of the Internet that their citizenry has access to/
But the Internet as we know it has opened up a lot of paths for people power and innovation. For example, it has facilitated events like the recent Arab Spring uprising where revolution has occurred in states like Yemen and Egypt. This has been facilitated through the Web and the social media providing a low on-ramp to publishing the material that the people need to see to make informed decisions.
Another issue is that an authoritarian state may see itself as a regional economic power and use this to control what information passes through the region. This could include being able to shut down Webhosts based in that region if they host controversial material. Similarly the censorship and surveillance ideals of these states can be dangerous to a company’s economically-sensitive data due to a breeding round for state-sponsored piracy or the ability to establish a business-hostile environment.
Here, this could also lead to the various states not becoming safe locations for one to establish a business presence in that region due to the Internet connection or Web-hosting facility not being available in a reliable and secure manner.
Simiarly, through the use of IP telecommunications services like Viber, Skype and various busines-to-business VoIP platforms, we can be able to have voice and, where applicable, video conversations across the world for pennies’ worth or for free. As well, IP-based broadcasting can provide extra content to people that is beyond the control of governments.
I have signed this e-petition and stand behind these ideals in order to keep the Internet as a people-driven communications service which breeds innovation and competition.