OVERNIGHT TECH: Lawmakers move against UN regulation of the Internet

The Lead: Lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee will consider a resolution that would urge the Obama administration to oppose efforts to give the United Nations more control over the Internet.

Lawmakers are scheduled to make their opening remarks on Tuesday afternoon and vote on the proposal on Wednesday.

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The nonbinding resolution, which is sponsored by Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), has strong support on both sides of the aisle.

Proposals to give the U.N.'s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) more control over the governance of the Internet could come up at a conference in Dubai in December. 

The proposals, backed by China, Russia and other U.N. members, would give the international body more control over cybersecurity, data privacy, technical standards and the Web’s address system. They would also allow foreign, government-owned Internet providers to charge extra for international traffic and allow for more price controls.

The Internet is currently governed under a “multi-stakeholder” approach that gives power to a host of nonprofits, rather than governments.

Bono Mack's resolution would encourage the United States delegation “to promote a global Internet free from government control and preserve and advance the successful multi-stakeholder model that governs the Internet today.” 

Lawmakers on the Energy and Commerce Committee roundly criticized the proposals to give the U.N. more Internet control at a hearing last month. The Obama administration also opposes the move.


Judiciary panel to look at Internet privacy: The House Judiciary’s subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet will hold a hearing on Tuesday morning to look at the public policy implications of new Internet and mobile technologies.

The witnesses will be Scott Shipman, associate general counsel for eBay; Morgan Reed, the executive director for the Association for Competitive Technology; Chris Babel, CEO of privacy company TRUSTe; and James Grimmelmann, a professor at New York Law School.

The panel describes the hearing as an educational opportunity for members to examine issues related to Internet privacy.

“It is important that Judiciary Committee members stay current on developments in the digital economy as they are regularly called upon to consider data protection, privacy, and other proposals that fall within the Committee’s jurisdiction,” the panel wrote in a background memo.

Facebook buys facial recognition firm: Facebook on Monday bought Face.com, a facial recognition technology company.

According to AllThingsD, the deal is worth about $55 to $60 million. 

Face.com is an Israeli start-up that was founded in 2007. The company makes mobile and desktop software that scans photos to identify faces.

Facebook already uses facial recognition software to suggest friends to tag in photos, but the purchase could make the service faster and more accurate.

Facial recognition software has caused concern among lawmakers and regulators, who worry it invades people's privacy.


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