International campaign to keep the Internet free and open begins today

Ottawa, November 14, 2012 – An international campaign to preserve the free and open Internet is launching in Canada this week.  

This new campaign, which includes representatives from the global Internet community, opposes proposals that are expected to be tabled at an upcoming international conference of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the body that regulates telecommunications traffic globally. These proposals would see certain key elements of the Internet placed under control of the ITU, a United Nations co-ordinated, multi-national body. The widely held view of many in the Internet community is that proposals to improve Internet security are nothing more than veiled attempts by some countries with less than fully functioning democratic institutions to have a pretext to increase Internet surveillance and restrict the freedoms of global Internet users.  

Canadians are asked to join in support of the free and open Internet by signing a global petition opposing these proposals to clamp down on the digital rights of the global online community. This petition can be found here: change.org/netgrab.

“As a supporter of the free and open Internet, we oppose any attempts to put restrictions on the online activities of Canadian citizens,” said Byron Holland, president and CEO of Canadian Internet Registration Authority. “The current model for governing the Internet, called the multi-stakeholder model, is responsible for the Internet’s success, for its role in both elevating the global economy and the spread of democratic free speech.”

The multi-stakeholder governance model allows a myriad of stakeholders – such as engineers, marketers, coders, civil society, academics, and security experts – to have a voice equal to that of nations, non-governmental organizations or corporations. In short, the people and organizations that have a stake in the Internet’s success are the people and organizations that make the decisions about its development.

At a recent meeting of the International Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), President of the Treasury Board, the Honourable Tony Clement, also reaffirmed the government of Canada’s support for the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance: cira.ca/news/news-releases/governance-model/.

The ITU was first established in 1865 to regulate telegrams, and later telephones and faxes. At the World Conference on Information Technology (WCIT) in Dubai in December, the ITU will conduct the first review of the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) in 25 years, including proposal to potentially regulate elements of the global Internet. One example of concern is a proposal to treat Internet traffic like regular telephone calls for international billing purposes have been found to risk the future of the Internet as we know it.

 “The bottom-up, light handed approach enabled by the multi-stakeholder model and used by ICANN has allowed the Internet to become an incredible economic and democratizing force and the greatest driver of social change since the printing press,” said Holland. “This is a governance model that reflects the uniqueness of the Internet itself which we must work to preserve and evolve.”

“CIRA is pleased by the Canadian government’s unqualified support for the Internet’s multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance,” says Holland. “I now also call on Canadians to take action to ensure the Internet remains innovative, secure, inter-operable and, most importantly, free and open.”

About CIRA

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority is the Member-driven organization that manages Canada’s .CA domain name registry, develops and implements policies that support Canada’s Internet community, and represents the .CA registry internationally.

For more information, please contact:

Tanya O’Callaghan
Communications Manager, Canadian Internet Registration Authority
(613) 237-5335 ext. 262
tanya.ocallaghan@cira.ca

Leo Valiquette
inmedia Public Relations
(613) 769-9479
lvaliquette@inmedia.ca