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US officials say "no" to UN Internet control

2012-06-01 07:51 by


U.S. lawmakers on Thursday introduced a resolution to fight against any international efforts to put regulations on the Internet. With this resolution they said "no" to proposals to bring the Internet under United Nations' control.

In December, U.N. members will vote on an update of a 1988 communications treaty and consider proposals to extend oversight to the Internet. Some countries, including Russia and China, say the Internet is still controlled by the United States and that a UN effort would give a greater voice to the developing world. But many in the US fear a UN-governed Internet would give authoritarian nations the power to throttle free speech, and allow others to impose tariff or other restrictions.

"These are terrible ideas," Rep. Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican, said during a U.S. House of Representatives hearing. They could allow "governments to monitor and restrict content or impose economic costs upon international data flows," added Ambassador Philip Verveer, a deputy assistant secretary of state.

"We may have our differences on domestic telecommunications policy, but having those policies decided at the international level would be the worst thing that could happen," Representative Marsha Blackburn said at a hearing before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee.

"If this power grab is successful, I'm concerned that the next Arab Spring will instead become a Russia Winter where free speech is chilled, not encouraged, and the Internet becomes a wasteland of unfilled hopes, dreams and opportunities," said Bono Mack, a sponsor of the resolution.

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