Back in 2000, George W. Bush was lambasted for butchering the English language by making up the word “Internets.” He may have unintentionally predicted the future of the Web, which, under its current governance structure, has played a vital role in creating this amazing and interconnected online world in which we live.
Unfortunately for everyone who enjoys the Internet as a free and open platform for innovation, communications and commerce, the rug may have been pulled out from underneath us. When the United Nations’ World Conference on International Telecommunications ended last week, the idea of two “Internets” became plausible.
Regardless of how well the current multi-stakeholder approach is working for most of us, conference participants charged forward with new regulations that should alarm every tech company, aspiring entrepreneur, Skype lover, blogger or Etsy shop owner in the world. In an 89-54 vote, the United States, Canada, most Western European countries and Japan came up short against the likes of China, Iran and Russia, countries not necessarily known for eagerness to enact sensible regulations on behalf of their citizenry. The vote approved the text of a treaty that would put the Internet on the road to reckless regulation in two short years.