The House of Representatives, in a rare show of unanimity, approved a resolution that urged Barack Obama to stand against international proposals that would give the UN more control over the Internet. There are proposals in the works to be presented in Dubai in December that would give the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) more control over the Internet. Other powerful countries are in favor of the move, including China, Russia, Brazil, India and other U.N. members.
The resolution exhorted Obama to “promote a global Internet free from government control and preserve and advance the successful multistakeholder model that governs the Internet today.” The Obama administration has taken the same position as the House.
Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), who sponsored the resolution, said,
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. We cannot let this happen.
If the international proposals are successful, the UN would have more control over cybersecurity, data privacy, technical standards and the Web’s address system. Costs for international use would increase, as foreign, government-owned Internet providers could raise their rates for international traffic. This would bring in millions of dollars to foreign governments; up until now, that money went to a number of nonprofit entities.
If there are any doubts as to why Obama would fight an effort to give UN control over US interests, just look at who is on the side of the House; Google’s “Chief Internet Evangelist” Vint Cerf wrote, “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.”
If Google, which supports Obama in every way, wants something, you’d better believe Obama’s listening.
At least until the day he’s reelected.