Where Now for the Internet?
A conference scheduled to last 11 days has begun in Dubai with the intention to try and agree a direction for the furture of the internet. The goal sounds quite simple – to agree some common standards for the future of the internet. However the UK organisers were quoted as mentioning that they expect a certain amount of friction within the debates.
It’s been a long time since such talks have taken place, the last global conference on the future of telecoms across the planet took place in 1988. Obviously the world has changed a lot since then! One of the key concerns of the organisers is that today still over 4 billion people have no access at all to the internet, this can only lead to inequalities in knowledge and opportunity.
Some are concerned that censorship and filtering are going to be high on the conference agenda. Google has started advertising on their search page asking people to support the principles of a free and open internet. They seem to be worried that governments are intending to impose strict regulations on a global scale on the free use of the internet. The United Nations who are driving this conference are keen to deny this allegation.
It will be interesting to see where Google go with this campaign, they obviously have the potential to leverage enormous power globally simply through their search page. The meetings at this conference are closed to the public however Google will be well represented there anyway.
We would hope that some of the increasing restrictions and filtering that is happening throughout the world can be addressed. The internet is increasingly being used as a tool either for oppression by denying access like the Syrian Government or artificial blocks put up by commercial organisations keen to carry on with their global price discriminations. The sad truth is to operate on anything like a free and open internet then you need to use some sort of proxy or VPN service like something detailed here - http://www.proxyusa.com/. However this require money and not all people are lucky enough to be able to afford such services to protect their online freedom.