Hands off South Africa’s Internet

Former Computer Society South Africa (CSSA) president Adrian Schofield has warned that proposed changes to the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs) threatens the future of the Internet.

“The proposed changes to the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs), which will effect fundamental changes in the way that the Internet operates, will be to the detriment of the future of the Internet and of its contribution to developing economies and freedom of information,” Schofield said in an open letter on the CSSA website.

The Computer Society South Africa (CSSA) joined many other concerned organisations around the world in expressing its dissatisfaction with the process and likely outcome of the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), which will take place in Dubai from 3 to 14 December 2012.

The CSSA shared the views of the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA), in that:

  • The content of the proposed ITRs has not been widely available for comment
  • There is no evidence to support the proposals
  • The ITU processes are restrictive, limiting stakeholder participation

The Internet Society echoed these views, stating that the proposals would:

  • Create a new model for Internet connection
  • Adversely impact Internet naming, numbering and addressing
  • Extend regulatory authority to new areas, applying ITRs to the Internet and Internet providers
Adrian Schofield
Adrian Schofield

“The Internet has revolutionised the lives of billions of people by giving them access to information and the ability to communicate freely with each other. The model that enabled this revolution must not be tampered with,” said Schofield.

The CSSA urged the South African government representatives who will attend the WCIT and all other delegates to the Conference to reject the proposed changes to the ITRs.

“Internet governance has been open, transparent and inclusive – this cannot be allowed to change,” said Schofield.

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Hands off South Africa’s Internet