Civil society groups from around the world sent this joint letter to ask ITU Secretary General Dr. HamarounTouré to follow up on commitments to improve opportunities for NGOs and human rights advocates to participate in the next big Internet governance conference, the World Telecommunication Policy Forum (WTPF).
Many of the undersigned groups advocated for increased participation in the December 2012 World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), and this letter demonstrates continued commitment to engage in constructive debates over Internet policy and governance issues. But civil society groups currently lack standing to speak at the WTPF, to be held in Geneva in May, and there is no mechanism for comments from the public on the reports and opinions that will set the agenda for the meeting.
Some degree of government surveillance and secrecy is necessary to protect against national security threats. However, overbroad government power to conduct mass surveillance with minimal transparency threatens Constitutional freedoms and inhibits meaningful public debate. Here are four – but not the only – needed national security surveillance reforms that the Administration and Congress should tackle now.