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Google to UN: Internet FREEDOM IS FREE, and must remain so

Fears 'secretive' govs plan to make it pay for stuff

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Google has attacked a "closed-door meeting" of United Nations' regulators organised by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) taking place next month. The Chocolate Factory claimed that some of the proposals to overhaul the 1988 comms treaty could be bad news for free speech.

The company also expressed concerns that services like YouTube, Facebook, and Skype could be forced "to pay new tolls in order to reach people across borders," under one such plan currently being mulled by governments who are members of the ITU.

Google claimed: "This could limit access to information - particularly in emerging markets." The ad broker, to underpin its campaign against the ITU, created a website - dubbed "Take Action" - which is seeking supporters of the "free and open net" to sign up to the cause.

It complained:

Only governments have a voice at the ITU. This includes governments that do not support a free and open internet. Engineers, companies, and people that build and use the web have no vote.

The ITU is also secretive. The treaty conference and proposals are confidential.

The meeting in question is taking place in Dubai from 3 to 14 December, when a new information and communications treaty is expected to be drawn up.

ITU press spokeswoman Sarah Parkes dismissed any suggestion that the meeting would stifle internet freedom. She told The Register that Google could have participated as an IT member in the meeting but had chosen not to do so.

Parkes added that Google - whose argument was "not well-founded in fact" - was represented anyway by UN members from the US and Israel.

She had earlier tweeted: "ITU Constitution establishes right to communicate & prevails over ITRs [international telecommunication regulations] - ITRs cannot compromise this freedom". ®

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