House Unanimously Opposes UN’s ‘Internet Regulations’

The United States Congress may be a mess and the most unruly and uncompromising bunch in the land but they all apparently think that the UN should not be setting policy on the Internet. To that end, members of the House of Representatives – Democrats and Republicans – voted unanimously (397-0) against the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the United Nations' efforts to push "increased government control over the Internet."

The vote is a declaration against the goings-on at the World Conference on International Telecommunications in Dubai. The goal of the conference is to update telecommunications regulations that haven’t been updated since 1988. Those International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs) do not address the Internet and other growing technologies.

The fear among advocacy groups is that counties that want to control their population's access to a free internet such as North Korea, China, Russia, Iran, and Syria will use the conference as a way to push their own agendas. Those agendas include eliminating anonymity from the Internet, limits on free speech and the surveillance of internet traffic they deem to be bad. This also includes everything from prohibitions on copyright violations and pornography to prohibitions on defamation and political speech.

Naturally the UN can't unilaterally impose rules on the Internet without a serious treaty, and that treaty would have to be ratified by all the parties involved. That's a pretty tall order. Here in the United States all treaties have to go before the Senate for review as required by our Constitution.

Still it's good that the House or Representatives can agree on this issue, even if it is simply a strong public declaration…

Source: Ars Technica

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