This past week in Dubai, governments from around the world attempted to use an international telecommunications treaty to increase government control over the Internet in ways harmful to online free expression and privacy. Negotiations concluded with 89 governments signing the new treaty, and 55 governments indicating they would not sign or that additional consultations were required.
GNI commends those governments from all regions—including Canada, Costa Rica, Kenya, India, the United States, and members of the European Union—who worked together with civil society, the private sector, and other stakeholders to stop the proposals that posed the greatest threat to free expression and privacy rights.
At the same time, the deeply flawed negotiation process and resulting agreement demonstrate the worrying potential for the fragmentation of the open Internet and the ongoing vulnerabilities in the international Internet governance regime, which will continue to be contested at international conferences and gatherings in the coming year.
GNI will continue to advocate strongly for an Internet grounded in international human rights standards, the inclusion of all voices, and transparency. In 2013 this will be a priority of our efforts to bring together companies and civil society to protect the free flow of information and privacy online.
GNI is a multi-stakeholder group of companies, civil society organizations (including human rights and press freedom groups), investors and academics, who have created a collaborative approach to protect and advance freedom of expression and privacy in the ICT sector. GNI provides resources for ICT companies to help them address difficult issues related to freedom of expression and privacy that they may face anywhere in the world. GNI has created a framework of principles and a confidential, collaborative approach to working through challenges of corporate responsibility in the ICT sector.