Google asks everyone to “support a free and open Internet”

By and large, the Internet is a decentralized system not owned or run by one single entity. At its most basic form, the Internet is a bunch of networks connected to each other with limited regulatory oversight. Governments can control access to the Internet, and in some cases even influence what appears on the web such as in the case of domain takeovers or censorship requests, but they cannot control the Internet itself.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a United Nations agency, has indicated it will try to assert its regularly authority over the Internet. Google, and many other pro-Internet advocates, feel this threatens the very existence of the Internet and they want you to speak up to prevent this from happening.

There are two main reasons why Google and other advocates oppose handing over control to the ITU:

  • First and foremost, Google fears giving ITU power over the Internet would allow governments to dictate how the Internet is used. The billions of people that actually use the Internet will have little to no say.
  • Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, not all governments around the world support the idea of a censor-free Internet. In fact, I dare say no government in the world supports the idea of a censor-free Internet. While some may take part in more excessive censorship than others (e.g. China), every government (yes, including the American government) takes part in digital censorship to some degree. So to give control of the Internet to governments would be disastrous. At least, that is in theory (hopefully we will never find out in fact).

In Google’s own words:

A free and open world depends on a free and open Internet. Governments alone, working behind closed doors, should not direct its future. The billions of people around the globe who use the Internet should have a voice.

Because of this opposition to ITU control of the Internet, Google is running a small text ad on Google.com and its international variants asking people to stand up for the “free and open Internet”. The ad leads to Google’s Take Action page that provides more information about what this move would mean plus a prompt asking you “add your voice in support of the free and open Internet”. Check out the page if you are interested (you should be interested).

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7 comments

  1. Johan

    If the internet should no longer be open and free, it will no longer be what it has been since the beginning, an unfathomable loss! This is no issue to just keep babbling about. Google, and anybody else, is right to do whatever he/she can do to preserve the internet. I believe it’s that simple!

  2. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Everyone saying Google is in it for themselves: This is true, but Google isn’t the only one protesting ITU control of Internet. Many companies and people are, and for the same reasons Google is. So while Google’s reasons may not be so pure, that doesn’t mean their logic is necessarily flawed.

  3. BarrysCool

    Google wants a free internet so it can be free to do whatever it wants on the internet. If this is portrayed as being for the common good, most likely it’s for the common good of Google.
    Think twice before you think it’s for your good, people are easily led.

  4. JonE

    My first reaction is; the Internet should not be controlled or censored, by any entity.

    My second reaction is a question; is this the same U.N. that wants to make Palestine a State? Like controlling or censoring the Internet I don’t think either action is in the best interest of anyone, except perhaps the Palestinians.

    And I share the skepticism of “ds5929″, “Maurice”, and “Mick” about, “Google”. I don’t trust Google’s intentions any more than I do the U.N.’s. Seems to me that it wasn’t too long ago that Google wanted me to support some other kind of initiative, but I don’t remember what it was about, but after researching it, while it sounded good, it wasn’t in my best interest to support it.

    I think in this case a call, letter, or email message to your elected representatives would do more good although we as Americans haven’t been making very good choices about who we want to represent us. And although I think the Congress and Senate are filled with special interest representatives, I think there are still enough honest representative left to keep us from going into the poop shoot. I do not want to turn this into a political debate, but I don’t think Google has our best interest at heart any more than the U.N.

    And I know I’ll get whacked for saying this, but we all could pray about it too. Because I assure you if the Internet falls then our freedoms aren’t far behind.

    I am truly sorry if my opinions have offended anyone, but it is the way I feel. And it’s much more than a feeling. This is me shutting up now.

    Almost forgot; I do have one question about this Internet U.N. thing. I’m wondering which country or group of countries, or which U.N. ambassador it was that introduced the notion that the Internet is something that should be controlled by the U.N. or any other entity? I haven’t had the time to research it, but I will.

  5. Mick

    Goggle advocates what is in Google’s best interest. Don’t kid yourself otherwise…. that they think everyone should have a “voice”. Google wants what will help *themselves* out, period. (as they should)

  6. ds5929

    Is this the same Google that williingly sucked ass with the Chinese (and other) governments to censor search results? OK,this time they’re right. But then, what else would you expect from the U.N., aka The Dictators Club? Hopefully U.S courts will remember that the federal constitution is supposed to reign supreme here-but I ain’t all that hopeful.