Before the Internet, before the phone, before the printing press, man had voice. Our voices, our purpose for expression, are a genesis of creativity, achievement, and opportunity. Over time various cultures across the world recognized this freedom, including the democracy of Athens, Greece, the Roman Republic, and the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. There is a lot of discussion as to this liberty facing great restrictions and taxation.
“U.S. Ambassador Terry Kramer warned on Friday that a proposal to give a United Nations agency more control over the Internet is gaining momentum in other countries.
Proposals to expand the U.N.’s International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) authority over the Internet could come up at a treaty conference in Dubai in December. European telecommunications companies are pushing a plan that would create new rules that would allow them to charge more to carry international traffic.
The proposal by the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association could force websites like Google, Facebook and Netflix to pay fees to network operators around the world. Kramer said the idea of an international Internet fee is “gaining more interest in the African states and also in the Arab states.” (By Brendan Sasso, TheHill.com)
“The European proposal, offered for debate at a December meeting of a U.N. agency called the International Telecommunication Union, would amend an existing telecommunications treaty by imposing heavy costs on popular Web sites and their network providers for the privilege of serving non-U.S. users, according to newly leaked documents. The documents (No. 1 No. 2) punctuate warnings that the Obama administration and Republican members of Congress raised last week about how secret negotiations at the ITU over an international communications treaty could result in a radical re-engineering of the Internet ecosystem and allow governments to monitor or restrict their citizens' online activities.” (by Declan McCullagh and Larry Downes, cnet.com)
How likely is this to be enacted?
“Before the pros and cons of ETNO's proposal can be debated, the ITU would have to figure out a way to legally impose such a tax, Jonathan Watts, an attorney specializing in business, Internet and tax law, told the E-Commerce Times. "What is happening here is essentially a proposal to revise an international treaty," he said. Even if the ITU were to move to create the legal authority to go forward with the proposal, it's unlikely it would receive the kind of support it needs to make it a reality, said Kenneth Anderson, professor of law at American University. "The UN doesn't have any authority to wake up one morning and impose a tax," he told the E-Commerce Times. "It would require an agreement between the nation states, and that is essentially an impossibility, because many of the powerful states would wind up not agreeing on this issue." (ecommercetimes.com)
Will it or won’t it? This is a developing story and one to watch. A good idea may be to let your voice be heard by contacting the Secretary of State and signing the petition below."
Contact the U.S. Department of State
Sign a Petition
Please sign this petition against a United Nations imposed tax on the Internet. Speak up against UN regulation of the Internet and against giving countries the right to censor the Internet. Help stop giving the UN the power to assign e-addresses and obligate them to report these e-addresses and IP addresses to host countries (so China can track down dissidents)!
We'll add your e-mail address to our Alerts list so we can keep you posted on progress and next steps.
To sign go to
Photo Credit: twitter.com/UN