Skip to main content

House votes unanimously for Internet freedom

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved a resolution Aug. 2 to instruct the American delegation to the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai later this year to keep the Internet free of any government control.

House Concurrent Resolution 127, sponsored by Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), urges the Obama administration to “continue working to implement the position of the United States on Internet governance that clearly articulates the consistent and unequivocal policy of the United States 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 opposes proposals aimed at giving greater control of the Internet to the United Nations.

A major action item for the WCIT, which will be held Dec. 3-14, is a review of the existing International Telecommunications Regulations, the binding global treaty laying out the principles governing voice, data and video traffic. China, Russia, Brazil, India and other nations reportedly are pushing to give the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union a greater role in Internet governance.

“For nearly a decade, the United Nations has been angling quietly to become the epicenter of Internet governance,” said Bono Mack in a press statement posted on her website. “At the WCIT discussions, a new treaty on Internet governance will be debated. Most worrisome to me are efforts by some countries to provide the United Nations with extraordinary new authority over management of the Internet.”

In a Google Public Policy Blog posted following the vote, Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist at Google and one of the fathers of the Internet, wrote that if the efforts to restructure Internet governance at WITC are successful, “they could change the Internet governance process as we know it, increasing state control over networks and substantially limiting the role of users and other vital, nongovernmental actors in important Internet policy debates.”

On July 18, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced a similar measure in the Senate urging the administration to instruct its delegation to the WCIT to preserve Internet freedom.