The European Parliament is due to vote on a resolution this Thursday (22 November) on the ITU proposals.
The proposals on the table in Dubai run the risk of limiting the free flow of information, breaching data privacy and giving unprecedented control over the internet to governments and ITU. PES representatives have expressed concern that the agreement could be similar to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). On 4 July this year, ACTA was rejected by the European Parliament by 478 votes to 39. The PES was actively opposed to the proposal, joining online petitions and EU-wide demonstrations against an agreement that was “fundamentally flawed in both content and process”. The treaty was highly criticized for its potential to erode the freedom of expression, individual privacy and access to generic medicines.
PES President Sergei Stanishev stated that; “On 4 July the European Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was rejected by the European Parliament because a broad coalition, which included the PES, agreed that no company and no country should have such power over individual citizens. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) secretive process threatens fundamental rights to privacy and expression. I call on the European Parliament this week to redouble its resolve to make sure that the rules agreed in the ITU meeting in Dubai, don’t allow ACTA by the back door”.
Mr. Stanishev added: “The right to expression is also the right to be heard. Governments and companies around the world need to understand that no regulation can be imposed at the expense of people’s rights. We succeeded in rejecting ACTA, a frontal assault on internet rights. Now we must stay vigilant so that those rights cannot be slowly or secretly eroded”.