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TMCNet:  EI opposes planned government restrictions on the internet

[November 30, 2012]

EI opposes planned government restrictions on the internet

Nov 30, 2012 (M2 PRESSWIRE via COMTEX) -- A draft treaty to be voted at the upcoming World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) has severe implications for teachers, students, education support staff, union members and the rights of individuals around the world.



At the WCIT, taking place from December 3-14 in Dubai, government representatives will consider a treaty that proposes a whole raft of changes to how the internet currently works. If adopted, it will make way for vastly increased restrictions of citizens to communicate freely online.

The proposals, put forward by telecommunications corporations in concert with countries where internet freedoms are already under threat - including China, Egypt and Saudi Arabia - would place serious restrictions on freedom of association and freedom of speech.

If approved, the treaty would not only allow the International Telecommunications Union (a UN agency) to charge users for services such as email or Skype, it would also allow government restriction or blocking of information disseminated via the internet. It would create a global regime of monitoring internet communications - including the demand that those who send and receive information identify themselves. Moreover, governments would be able to shut down internet access in certain situations.

Education International joins the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in urging governments all over thw world to reject these proposals outright and support a new process which is open and inclusive. EI and ITUC member organisations are securing commitments from state leaders to reject these proposals. To this end, the ITUC has also launched a global petition at www.change.org/netgrab "Unless we act to prevent the imposition of these restrictions on the internet, these changes will threaten our capacity to communicate with members and to advocate for change," said Fred van Leeuwen, EI General Secretary. "It is therefore critical that we, as unionists, play an active role in placing pressure on governments to vote against the proposal at the upcoming meeting." To help stop the net grab, visit www.change.org/netgrab and sign the petition.

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