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Poland against new UN internet 'censorship threat'

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 27.11.2012 07:00
Poland is to oppose a UN agency proposal to renegotiate an international internet treaty which critics say would threaten freedom of expression on the web.

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The UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is to meet behind closed doors in Dubai between 3 and 14 December, where 193 countries are being asked to agree a new information and communications International Telecommunication Regulations (ITR) treaty, which would change the way domain names are monitored and IP addresses are assigned.

The effect of the new treaty would be to take away the domain name system and other technical specifications, currently run by organisations in the US, and give them to a new international body.

The Polish government has said, however, that it will oppose the changes to the treaty.

"Poland does not agree to extend the mandate of ITU regulations on issues related to internet governance, such as domain name system management and allocation of IP addresses,” Pollish minister for digitalization, Michal Boni has said.

The battle over who controls the web comes after the centre-right Polish Civic Platform/PSL coalition signed the controversial ACTA proposal in Tokyo in January this year, which brought thousands onto the streets of Poland, and anonymous hackers brought down government web sites, in protest.

The Polish government, shocked by the level of opposition to ACTA, later said that it would not ratify the treaty, which would affect copyright on the internet.

Internet giant takes action

Google has launched a 'Take Action' web site, which invites internet users to sign a petition against the proposed changes in the UN ITU treaty.

"Some proposals could permit governments to censor legitimate speech - or even allow them to cut off internet access,” Google claims.

"Other proposals would require services like YouTube, Facebook, and Skype to pay new tolls in order to reach people across borders. This could limit access to information - particularly in emerging markets," they add.

The UN has said that the proposed changes to the treaty must be unanimous before it would come into force. (pg)

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