What Do You Think: Regulating Online Speech

Posted June 25th, 2012 at 4:33 pm (UTC-4)
1 comment

Adding Your Voice To The Debate

Ross Slutsky | Washington DC

Keen observers of the web may have noticed recently some in politics and the media expressing concern about online free speech, and an upcoming meeting of the UN’s International Telecommunications Union. The ITU works to create international standards for digital communications, and during this year’s meeting, in Dubai this December, attendees will debate various proposals to update the 1988 treaty known as the International Telecommunications Regulations, or ITR.

There’s a lot at stake, and already a U.S. House of Representatives committee cautioned the UN to steer clear from Internet regulation, passing a resolution requesting President Obama emphasize that it is the “unequivocal policy of the United States to promote a global Internet free from government control.” An interesting position, given the amount of attention this Congress has spent on regulatory measures such as SOPA and PIPA, but that’s for another discussion.

Elsewhere, some in the media have begun worrying that changes to the ITR proposed by Russia and some Arab states could broadly expand intergovernmental regulatory powers, and possibly have a chilling effect on a wide range of online behaviors.

On Tuesday June 26, Digital Frontiers will be live-tweeting from a panel hosted by the National Endowment for Democracy titled “Clear and Present Danger,” previewing this summer’s ITU meeting and the serious issues in play, such as freedom of online expression.

How would you balance the need for regulation against the right of free speech? Does more government authority over the Internet worry you? What standards do you think are appropriate for Internet regulation, and what role should the UN play in Internet policy?

VOA wants to give you a voice in this debate. Tweet us your thoughts at @dfrontiers, and use the hashtag #cimaevents, and we’ll share your questions and opinions with the likes of Rebecca MacKinnon, Emma Llansó and the other panelists. And watch for our live updates Tuesday on Twitter.com.

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What’s Digital Frontiers?

The Internet, mobile phones, tablet computers and other digital devices are transforming our lives in fundamental and often unpredictable ways. “Digital Frontiers” investigates how real world concepts like privacy, identity, security and freedom are evolving in the virtual world.

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June 2012
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