The Internet gives us the freedom, to talk with friends, make art, start a business or speak out against our governments, all on an unprecedented scale. This isn’t a coincidence. The Internet’s design came out of open inclusive discussions by a global community of scientists and engineers, so there was no pressure from above to lock it down. But now a government controlled international body is making a play to become the new place where the Internet’s future gets decided. It’s called the International Telecommunication Union (or ITU). And in December the worlds governments will meet, to decide whether to expand its mandate to making important decisions about the net. The ITU could pose a risk to freedom of expression on-line everywhere. Here’s why. First the basics. Nobody owns the Internet. It’s a collection of independent networks around the world. Anybody can build one. The common standards on which the Internet was build grew out of open on-line discussions, not on the priorities of a particular government or company. But now let’s meet the ITU! First the ITU is old. Really old. Not CDs old, not rotary phone old, telegraph old, as in Morse code. When founded in 1865 it was called the International Telegraph Union. Unlike the Internet the ITU was not build on open discussion among scientists and engineers. Instead only governments have a vote at the ITU. And these votes take place behind closed doors. If governments succeed in giving the ITU more power to make decisions about the Internet, we get an old-school, top-down, government centric organisation replacing the open bottom-up governance that made the Internet so world-changing. And that’s just the beginning of our problems. The ITU is not transparent. The ITU’s draft proposals aren’t public, and its “one country – one vote” model gives governments all the power. They get to make decisions about our Internet, without us even knowing what they’re discussing, and then tell us, once the decision is made. What kinds of decisions will be considered at the ITU meeting this December? Well, here’s some actual proposals that have leaked: cutting of Internet access for a number of broadly defined reasons; violating international human rights norms; giving governments more power to monitor Internet traffic and impose regulations on how traffic is sent; defining Spam so broadly that they could justify blocking anything from photos of cute cats to human rights campaigns. And new rules to charge online content providers to reach users, which could mean less content going to the developing world, and blocking sites that don’t pay up. But the really scary part: the countries pushing hardest for ITU control are the same countries that aggressively censor the Internet. In Russia, making a YouTube video against the government can get you two years in jail. In China you can’t even get to most social media websites. And Iran is trying to build its own national Internet and email network, to keep the entire population under its control. Now the ITU also does good work: They help the developing world establish telecommunication networks and expand high speed broadband connections. And existing Internet governance isn’t perfect. The US has out-sized influence and authority when it comes to this. But we need to fix these problems in a way that preserves the openness, pragmatism and bottom-up governance, that made the Internet so great. This December our governments meet to make their final decisions about the Internet’s future. It’s up to us Internet users, in every country of the world, to tell them: to stand for the open Internet. If everyone who sees this video speaks out and contacts their government, we’ve got a chance of winning. Help us share this video and visit this site to speak out and contact your government right now! Let’s use the Internet’s global reach to save it! Tell your leaders to oppose handing over key decisions about the Internet to the ITU.