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Citizens Tell Governments: Vote for Openness at the ITU

Today, Internet rights advocates are urging their governments to vote for openness at the conference of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Beginning Monday, Member States of the UN agency will decide whether the ITU should expand its regulatory authority to the Internet — a move that could threaten privacy, free expression, and access to information for Internet users around the globe.

Global Internet traffic map. Labeled for reuse. Posted by Martin Irvine.

Government representatives to the ITU have said that on Monday, there will be a vote at the conference to determine whether or not to open certain sessions to public observation and participation. A more open conference would allow concerned citizens greater opportunities to hold their governments accountable for the decisions they make at the ITU.

Internet users around the world are voicing their concerns about the ITU treaty using online petitions, blog posts, and social networks. The Protect Global Internet Freedom statement, hosted by Canada-based digital rights group OpenMedia, has amassed over 32,000 signatures from groups and individuals in 164 countries–it has also been translated into 18 languages, thanks to Global Voices Lingua volunteers. The group has also created a tool that makes it easy for users to write a customized email to their national delegates.

Readers who are concerned with privacy, free expression, and other key human rights online should use these tools and make their voices heard in the days approaching the conference. From today through December 3, users around the globe can have an impact by contacting their delegates and asking them to vote to make the conference as open and transparent as possible.

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