Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Mozilla have joined forces today to warn Internet users that web censorship could become a reality in the not-to-distant future.
Today was the first day of the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) conference on making changes to a treaty that’s been in force for decades. The ITU is a branch of the United Nations, and almost 2,000 people are attending this week’s conference to make changes to the International Telecommunication Regulations.
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Some of the proposed changes on the agenda at this week’s conference could make it possible for governments to censor Internet content. Other proposals would even enable governments to shut down Internet access in their countries.
Vint Cerf, current Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) vice president, is one of those speaking out against some of the most serious changes. Cerf is often referred to as one of the “fathers of the Internet.” One of his main concerns is the fact that only governments can vote on changes to the treaty in question.
Harvey Anderson, who serves as Mozilla’s chief counsel, also spoke out against this week’s meeting in a blog post on Sunday. He said, “Obscurity has cloaked the upcoming meeting, much of the process leading up to it, and most of the preparatory documents.” He said that this process seems to “cater to only the most powerful interests.”
A number of movements have also sprung up against any revisions to the treaty. The Protect Global Internet Freedom is a petition that people all over the world have signed. Also Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Free and Open campaign is aimed at sparking global awareness of potential changes to how the Internet is governed.