House urges Obama to fight UN web regulation

The House unanimously approved a resolution on Thursday urging the Obama administration to fight efforts to give a United Nations agency more control over the Internet.

Proposals to give the UN's International Telecommunication Union (ITU) more control over the governance of the Internet could come up at a conference in Dubai in December. The move is reportedly backed by China, Russia, Brazil, India and other U.N. members.

The Obama administration has already announced its strong opposition to such proposals.

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"Today’s unanimous vote sends a clear and unmistakable message: the American people want to keep the Internet free from government control and prevent Russia, China and other nations from succeeding in giving the U.N. unprecedented power over Web content and infrastructure," said Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), who sponsored the resolution. "We cannot let this happen."

The proposals could give the U.N. more control over cybersecurity, data privacy, technical standards and the Web’s address system. They could 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.

The resolution urges the administration to "promote a global Internet free from government control and preserve and advance the successful multistakeholder model that governs the Internet today."

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has introduced a counterpart resolution in the Senate.

Google applauded the House vote in a blog post by Vint Cerf, one of the founders of the Internet who is now Google's "Chief Internet Evangelist."

"In the lead-up to the December conference, the future of the Internet is at stake, and I hope that other countries will adopt publicly similar positions," Cerf wrote.


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