Mozilla Helped To Stop SOPA In January, Now It's Worried About WCIT

from the must-be-important dept

Mike wrote how both Vint Cerf and Sir Tim Berners-Lee were concerned about the outcome of the WCIT talks currently taking place in Dubai. Those aren’t the only important voices being raised. Here, for example, is the Mozilla Foundation, the organization behind the Firefox browser and many other free software projects:

The Web lets us speak out, share, and connect around the things that matter. It creates new opportunities, holds governments to account, breaks through barriers, and makes cats famous. This isn’t a coincidence. It’s because the Web belongs to all of us: We all get a say in how it’s built.

Mozilla has made it our mission to keep the power of the web in people’s hands. But all this could change on December 3.

Our governments are going to meet in Dubai to decide whether an old treaty, the International Telecommunication Union, can be expanded to regulate — to control — the Internet.

The issue isn’t whether our governments, the UN, or even the ITU should play a role in shaping the Web. The problem is that they are trying to do it behind closed doors, in secret, without us.

We believe everyone should have a voice. And this site is to help you be heard in Dubai.

As you can see, the Mozilla Foundation isn’t just moaning about WCIT, it’s giving people tools to help them engage with it — despite the best efforts of the ITU to shut out the public. As a blog post about Mozilla’s position on WCIT explains:

The resources we are making available today will give you everything you need to learn about the upcoming meeting and why it matters, craft an effective message to get your government to listen, and engage in the global conversation about how decisions about the future of the Web should be made.

Aside from this very practical help, Mozilla’s move is important for another reason. In the past, Mozilla has tended to avoid getting involved with issues that are as much political as technical. The big exception was SOPA, when it took part in the January 18 Blackout, with impressive results:

Approximately 30 million people in the US who use the default start page in Firefox received the blacked out page with our call to action

We sent messages out to almost 9 million people via Facebook, Twitter and our Firefox + You newsletter

Our messages were retweeted, shared and liked by over 20,000 people (not counting MC Hammer’s tweet to his 2.4 million followers!)

1.8 million people came to to learn more and take action on the issue

600,000 went on to visit the Strike Against Censorship page, hosted by the EFF

Ultimately, 360,000 emails were sent by Mozillians to members of Congress, contributing a third of all the emails generated by EFF’s campaign site.

The action that it is taking over WCIT isn’t quite so drastic, and so is unlikely to have such a big impact. But the fact that Mozilla has once again cast aside it usual apolitical position to voice its concerns shows how great they are.

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Comments on “Mozilla Helped To Stop SOPA In January, Now It's Worried About WCIT”

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Anonymous Coward says:

if the ‘taking over the running of the internet’ was going to be beneficial to the people and to the companies that use it, it would not be so bad but because the ITU, along with every other organisation AND GOVERNMENT that wants to take control of it, is trying to do so for it’s own benefit, both financial and for dictatorial reasons, to stop the free flow of information particularly when that information is detrimental to how something, someone is behaving, it must not be allowed to happen! unfortunately, this all comes back to the front door of the USA. had it not been the instigator of ‘behind closed doors’ meetings that would and do only benefit the government and/or certain industries, screwing over completely the people, perhaps this situation wouldn’t have existed. even now this behaviour is on-going with the way TPP meetings are being conducted. so why complain when someone else is trying to do the exact same thing the US government is doing? lead by example is the phrase that comes to mind. what a shame it isn’t in operation!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It is, but I suspect that the reason is that it’s not such a laser-like focus as SOPA was (which was based solely in one country). The ITU isn’t based in one country, so whilst they can put pressure on in places where they have a sizable market-share, they can’t exactly exert the same pressure globally.

Matt Brubeck (user link) says:

Mozilla and politics

“In the past, Mozilla has tended to avoid getting involved with issues that are as much political as technical.”

This isn’t quite true. Mozilla has actively lobbied on a number of public policy issues including privacy, net neutrality, and more. For example, Mozilla has testified every three years at the US Library of Congress hearings on DMCA exemptions (in particular, presenting arguments in favor of the jailbreaking exemption), lobbied against CISPA, was involved in both the EU and US regulation of Microsoft monopoly abuses, joined other technology organizations in lobbying the FCC in favor of net neutrality, etc.

(Disclosure: I am a Mozilla employee.)

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