On the day of the UN’s closed-door meeting to discuss regulating the internet, Google has posted a blog and created a website aimed at getting people to sign a pledge asking for a free and open internet.
Besides the general idea that there exists absolutely no need for the UN to regulate the internet, here are three specific reasons you should care about this meeting.
1. Regulating the internet threatens speech
Right now, one proposal from the meeting is to let governments take over distributing domain names. From Google: “Currently, 42 countries filter and censor content. In just the last two years, governments have enacted 19 new laws threatening online free expression.” Letting governments decide who gets to build a website seems like a really bad plan if you like free speech.
The best part of Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist’s CNN piece:
History is rife with examples of governments taking actions to “protect” their citizens from harm by controlling access to information and inhibiting freedom of expression and other freedoms outlined in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
2. Taxing international online commerce discourages it
Another proposal on the table is to tax companies for sending data across borders. I. Just. Can’t. Even. If you want to see millions lifted out of crushing poverty and the global recession finally ended inhibiting international data exchange is absolutely anathema to the innovation required to do so.
3. We don’t want to encourage them
But even apart from the absolute stupidity of the proposals on the table right now that we know about, the overall situation is that we have absolutely nothing to gain and everything to lose by bringing the transparency of China’s internet police and the efficiency of the Unites States Post Office to the uniquely free, efficient and wonderful place that is the internet.
Photo by Voka – Kamer van Koophandel Limburg