You may surf the Internet every day, but never give a thought to what is going on at the UN. If that is true, then there may finally be a reason for you to pause for a moment and care. The ITU, an incredibly private multinational group, is currently undergoing several weeks of meetings to set international laws that may affect Internet usage. In what way? That’s the problem. No one knows outside of the room. The group doesn’t report to anyone. Any information that has been leaked is all that exists and is hearsay at best. Many complain about the current group that moderates the Internet, calling it a secret society, but compared to the ITU it is basically operating out in the open.

When the US government wanted to pass laws with regards to the Internet, people rose up and made themselves heard, forcing the legislation into oblivion. The problem here is that no one really knows for sure what is going on behind the closed doors, so there is no opportunity for people in general to voice an opinion. At least, not until after it is too late to do anything about it. So why are the meetings taking place? There are two primary factors that governments are trying to secure that we know of.

First of all, many governments want the ability to restrict Internet access and censor it. This isn’t new. China already does it on a country-wide scale. But these governments are looking for UN sponsored permission to curb free speech and keep citizens from reaching certain parts of the Internet.

The second is control over how the Internet is paid for. Right now, the Internet is an international entity, but there is no charge for crossing those borders. Imagine if the same rules that applied to making a call from another country applied to accessing a website with a server in another country. The implications could heavily restrict access to websites for many. The fees to access certain site could be astronomical.

These are just a few of the reasons that you may want to stop and take note of what is going on at the UN right now.