- Russia, Saudi Arabia and UAE among countries which signed have controversial new plan
- Want to create multinational pact to allow countries to stop access to sites at eachother’s request
- Includes measures that could allow authoritarian regimes to suppress opponents, critics warn
- Has led to deep divisions at 193-country conference which is trying to re-write treaty on web regulation
PUBLISHED: 07:32 EST, 10 December 2012 | UPDATED: 09:13 EST, 10 December 2012
An unexpected new proposal put forward by Arab states to create sweeping governmental powers to regulate the Internet today raised fears of an expansion of online censorship.
The plan, co-signed by Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and the United Arab Emirates, caused deep divisions when it was revealed over the weekend at a global conference which is attempting to re-write a longstanding treaty on web regulation.
A leaked draft of the Russia-led proposals would block some Internet locations and wrest control of allotting web addresses from a U.S.-based body.
It could allow governments to render websites within their borders inaccessible, even via proxy servers, and create multinational pacts in which countries could terminate access to websites at each others’ request.