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Public Knowledge: Syrian Blackout Puts Exclamation Point on WCIT Conference

Public Knowledge said Friday that Syria's crackdown on the
Internet is a good example of why the U.S. and others are concerned about
broadband-related proposals teed up for the WCIT telecom treaty conference in
Dubai next week.

"The events in Syria highlight the importance of the
upcoming WCIT and the implications of the WCIT for free expression
online," said Public Knowledge president Gigi Sohn. "Provisions
proposed by some member states would explicitly authorize governments such as
Syria to disrupt Internet traffic and control Internet architecture, including
traffic routing, on the grounds that such censorship is necessary to protect
public order or suppress insurrection."

Sohn hopes the events in Syria, described by the Washington
Post Friday as a "national shutdown of the Internet," will spur member
states to "carefully weigh the danger to these values inherent in any ITR
[International Telecommunications Regulation] expressly recognizing the right
of governments to disrupt or control Internet traffic routing."

The ITU, which is holding the conference, has said that itwon't empower government to exercise more control over the Net.