But Google is in Baku, Azerbijan today at the seventh annual Internet Governance Forum to make the case that a free and open internet is best for all. And with them is internet pioneer Vint Cerf.
(In case you’re wondering where Azerbaijan is, it’s east of Turkey, south of Russia, and right near all the “stans.”)
The IGF is a United Nations organization. Among other things, its mandate includes fostering the security and stability of the internet, helping countries with internet governance, and finding solutions for “the issues arising from the use and misuse of the Internet.”
Over 40 countries currently censor the internet to varying degrees, as Google notes, so the company “is going to Azerbaijan to stand up for freedom and openness of the Internet.” Many of those countries, according to Google, are hoping to make those restrictions international, and are already trying via the International Telecommunications Union.
One of the conference’s sessions is titled Security, Openness and Privacy, and will include discussion on several key questions, including
- What impact can security and governance issues have on the Internet and human rights
- Freedom of expression and free flow of information: how do legal framework, regulations, and principles impact this?
Panelists on that session include a member of the US Department of State and an advisor to the Egyptian minister of communication and IT.
Vint Cerf will be speaking about freedom and openness at an event during IGF, at which the company will show a selection of “The Caucasus Triangle” – a documentary on youth media and democracy in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan:
Google acknowledges that laws and customs differ, and it has committed to obey local laws in areas it operates. The company is there, however, to add its voice to those who are advocating for openness and freedom: “Our bottom line remains a strong preference for keeping the Net as open and free as possible.”
Image credit: Google Maps