Internet freedom is not something to be taken lightly, as anyone who has tried to gain access to forbidden sites in China will tell you.
The countries that would like to censor Internet content, including Russia, China, Iran and others, were eager to see their authority to do so etched into a United Nations treaty debated at a conference last month in Dubai. The United States and other nations committed to a free and open Internet refused to sign the treaty. It was a largely symbolic protest but the right thing to do.
The World Conference on International Telecommunications brought together 193 nations to consider revisions to principles last modified in the pre-Internet days of 1988. The principles govern the largely technical work of a specialized U.N. agency, the International Telecommunications Union. Much of the conference debate turned on whether the principles should be expanded to give national governments and the agency more voice in regulating the Internet.