Stop the Net grab

The internet as we know it is at risk. Unless we act now, our right to freely communicate and share information could change forever.

At a conference in Dubai this December, the International Telecommunications Union (or ITU), a United Nations agency, is planning to adopt new rules, including some nasty surprises which could clamp down on the fundamental freedoms of citizens online.

Big telecommunications corporations have joined with countries including China, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, countries that already impose heavy restrictions on internet freedoms, to put forward proposals to new treaty at the UN World Conference on International Telecommunications.

So far the proposal has flown under the radar, thanks to the secretive nature of the ITU, but its implications are so serious that we must act quickly to show the ITU and its member countries that citizens will not stand by while our right to communicate freely is undermined.

The proposal would give governments and companies all over the world the ability to:

Restrict access to the internet to approved uses

Monitor everything you do online

Change the way we pay for the internet, potentially marginalising civil society and developing countries

An internet totally controlled by government and big business contradicts the very essence of what the internet represents – open and free access for all. The new rules would affect us all, but would hurt people in poorer countries and those living in dictatorships even more.

Add your name to the global petition we’re running in conjunction with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), and ask our government representiatives who will attend this conference to reject these changes that will seriously and permanently restrict internet freedoms.

Act now, before it’s too late.  We need a new process where the voice of the people is properly heard. We’ll work with the ITUC to pass your concerns on to government representatives going to the conference.

Add your name against the ITU’s Net grab on the Going to Work (TUC) web page

About Virality

Tony D. Sampson is Reader in Digital Culture and Communications at the University of East London. He has a PhD in social-cultural-digital contagion theory from the Sociology Department at the University of Essex. He is a former art student who re-entered higher education in the UK as a mature student in the mid-1990s after a long stint as a gigging musician. His career in education has moved through various disciplines and departments, including a maths and computing faculty, sociology department and school of digital media and design His publications include The Spam Book, coedited with Jussi Parikka (Hampton Press, 2009), Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), The Assemblage Brain: Sense Making in Neuroculture (University of Minnesota Press, 2016) and Affect and Social Media (Rowman and Littlefield, July 2018). He is organizer and host of the Affect and Social Media conferences in the UK. As a co-founder and co-director of the public engagement initiatives, Club Critical Theory (CCT) and the Cultural Engine Research Group (CERG), Sampson has developed a number of funded research projects and public events that aim to bring impactful critical theories into the community and local political sphere to approach a series of local challenges. These activities have included large conferences co-organized with local authorities looking at a range of policies relating to the revitalization of the Essex costal region, developments in the cultural industries as well as a series of community focused events on food cultures and policy, collaborations with arts groups and informal lectures/workshops in pubs and community centres. Director of the EmotionUX Lab at UEL. He occasionally blogs at: https://viralcontagion.wordpress.com/ Full academic profile: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Staff/s/tony-sampson
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