Future of Internet Hangs in the Balance as Governments Debate Regulation

Dubai…The world’s governments have convened in Dubai to discuss regulations that could affect Internet policy for users around the world. At the conference, Member States of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will consider a range of Internet policy issues including cybersecurity, Internet neutrality, charging for online traffic, and mandatory technical standards.

Advocates and activists are pursuing every opportunity to observe the process and hold governments accountable for their decisions but despite Member States opening the conference’s main sessions and committee to the public, many of these critical decisions will still be made by governments alone.

“Policy decisions that could affect the Internet should not be made behind closed doors. The Internet is an open and inclusive communications medium and any decisions that could impact its operation and reach should be discussed in open and transparent meetings, involving all parties,” said Matthew Shears, CDT’s senior expert on Internet policy, who is on the ground in Dubai.

“Member States took a step in the right direction today by allowing the public to attend certain sessions of the WCIT,” Shears said. “However more can still be done. Concerns have been voiced around the globe by civil society, business, and technical experts about decisions that could be taken during the conference that would fundamentally impact the Internet. We urge government delegates to take these views into account as they discuss these important policy issues.”

The meeting – officially known as the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) – is scheduled to run through December 14th. Webcasts of the plenary sessions are available here. As WCIT runs its course, CDT has the following resources and experts available to discuss the latest developments:


Washington, DC
Emma Llansó
Policy Counsel

In Dubai
Matthew Shears

San Francisco, CA
Ellery Biddle
Policy Analyst