FutureFive NZ - Keep the internet free and open

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Keep the internet free and open

Chief internet evangelist Vinton Cerf has called for the internet to remain free and open as the International Telecommunication Union meet in Dubai this week.

The meeting will be the first potential change in 24 years for the internet, with over 1400 delegates from all corners of the world meeting to discuss the possibility of new regulations.

Spanning 11 days, the World Conference will consider proposed revisions ranging into hundreds of pages as the face of the internet could change forever.

But Cerf, accredited as a major factor in the world's first commercial email system connected to the internet, believes measures must be taken to ensure the internet remains the way it is now.

"Starting in 1973, when my colleagues and I proposed the technology behind the Internet, we advocated for an open standard to connect computer networks together," he says.

"This wasn’t merely philosophical; it was also practical.

"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 organise and influence, to speak and be heard.

"But starting in a few hours, a closed-door meeting of the world’s governments is taking place in Dubai, and regulation of the Internet is on the agenda.

"The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is convening a conference from December 3-14 to revise a decades-old treaty, in which only governments have a vote.

"Some proposals could allow governments to justify the censorship of legitimate speech, or even cut off Internet access in their countries.

"So far, more than 1,000 organisations 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.

"If you agree and want to support a free and open Internet too, I invite you to join us by signing the petition at google.com/takeaction.

"Please make your voice heard and spread the word."

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