House panel urges Obama to fight UN regulation of the Internet

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

The lawmakers said the resolution, introduced by Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), will show the international community that the United States is united in opposition to the plans. 

The 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.” 

In opening statements on Tuesday, Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) urged lawmakers to adopt the resolution to protect a "global open Internet," and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) said the resolution would send a "clear, bipartisan message affirming that we must maintain the current multi-stakeholder, decentralized approach to Internet governance."

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) urged lawmakers to approve the measure and "unite in opposition to proposals that threaten the innovation, openness and transparency enjoyed by Internet users around the world." 

Software, cable, wireless and business trade groups issued statement praising the panel's vote.

“Despite denials, the Russians and Chinese are working quietly behind the scenes – and have been for years – to exert control over Web content and infrastructure," Bono Mack said in a statement after the committee approved her resolution. "This could lead to human rights abuses in the future and effectively putting a spigot on the free flow of information. We can’t let that happen. Today, Republicans and Democrats — in a loud and unified voice — made it clear that the United States must fight any attempts to fundamentally alter the governance and operation of the Internet."

The measure, which has 58 co-sponsors, now moves to the full House for consideration. 

—Updated at 11:10 a.m.