No Surprise Here: Congress Passes Unanimous Resolution Telling The ITU: Hands Off The Internet

from the but-of-course dept

One thing that’s been somewhat universal in the US is pretty much everyone’s opposition to the whole ITU WCIT charade going on in Dubai right now. It doesn’t matter what political party they belong to or what general views on technology or the internet they hold, pretty much everyone recognizes, even if there are faults with the system today, giving the ITU more control will inevitably make things worse. So it should come as little surprise that Congress has passed another resolution (they did an earlier one in August that more or less said the same thing) unanimously (397-0) telling the ITU to not even think about trying to take over any aspect of internet governance. This resolution first was approved in the Senate and this is just the House concurring.

Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce, should 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.

Of course, such a resolution is technically meaningless. It’s mostly just a bit of warning, that if the ITU does actually lead to significant changes in internet governance, the US is unlikely to go along with them. In an age where it’s rare to see bipartisan support of anything, it’s nice to see pretty much everyone recognize the ITU process is dangerous and undesirable.

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Comments on “No Surprise Here: Congress Passes Unanimous Resolution Telling The ITU: Hands Off The Internet”

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Not an Electronic Rodent (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Yeah, that’s what I read into it too… and I’m far from convinced that the de jure “control” of the internet by the ITU would be much worse than the de facto “control” that the US often attempts. There’s an argument that says the 2 fighting over it might be better. Of course there’s a much stronger argument that says they’re all a bunch of ass-clowns and should stop trying to turn a communication and innovation tool into a political punchbag.

anon says:

Re: ITU Immaterial?

Actually the one thing that could save the internet is if the UK was given full control. Although it would be a rocky start the UK is one of the few places that are not as strongly influenced by big business. Yes Hollywood has there foot in the door but although we talk about Hollywood and there partners in crime a lot on this site in the UK they are not afraid to go against what the copyright monopoly wants, and any underhanded deals or possible monetary compensation for pushing specific laws comes with a very heavy price, unlike the US where it is openly encouraged.

Although the UK is most definitely not perfect with it’s track record it is hardly as bad as the US or some other countries like Germany and a few others.

Just look at how the government was forced to back down from the extradition laws when they were in the limelight.

If the mega mess had been started by a UK organisation we would already have had hearings , even before the case was finalised as to how a private business could determine and control the countries investigative forces like they owned them and heads would have been rolling.The case would have been finished and all of those involved would have to give very good reasons for there illegal actions. If anything the UK at least tries to be open and clear.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: ITU Immaterial?

We’ve had a few situations in Britain that suggest you are incorrect. Yes,courts have ruled that merely linking to infringing content isn’t illegal but they’ve also ruled that ‘conspiracy’ to do that legal thing is illegal. The nzbxclusive case is the closest we have to megaupload and the most striking thing about that is that the site got taken down by the serious organized crime agency amidst all kinds of threats and claims but while no one has been charged and it appears no crime has been committed the site stays down and coverage of the situation is non-existent. The site and it’s owner have effectively been disappeared.

Anonymous Coward says:

Can’t they just use any argument saying that “without the US the ITU doesn’t have as much clout” and use it as an argument for why the ITU SHOULD have control (i.e “The US has too much internet power, boohoo Russia and China want some of that”)?

I mean, I hate the ITU’s scheming but it’s a pretty obvious argument that will likely be pushed forward.

Anonymous Coward says:

At the very least this should make some of the “undecided” countries to reject ITU’s proposals as well. If both US and EU are rejecting it unanimously, this will at least make them think twice about what they’re getting into, and get them to question ITU’s intentions more. Hopefully the others will side with US and EU on this one, too, and tell ITU to go f#@% themselves, as they have no business in controlling the Internet.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Don't kid yourselves

NSA Whistleblower: Everyone in US under virtual surveillance,

This went viral 5 days ago, pasr 500thousand views, as a tech site, i would of thought that this would be relavant news……why have i not seen this on techdirt
I wouldnt trust any government, who tells me they need to fix something that aint broke……not without many, many, many discussions with the public on all levels…..consent of the public….and full access for public body to make sure that governing bodies are not oversteping their bounds, i dont know, say like mass storage of all communication for purposes of invading privacy

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Don't kid yourselves

I always thought that tech minded people would have more insights into what this may mean, what a government that is increasingly showing us that some things to their minds have no need for checks and, such as nsa cia, it seems that some of these organisation only follow the the first oat, the constitution when they have something to gain, and break it when they feel they can, mostly through secrecy.

So as a semi political techsite, with many members here, with whose discussions/post ive enjoyed over the years, and would love to get a take on how these site members feel about secret government surveilance…….yeah, i am amazed that what i feel is purtanant to what this site is, why has this story not been posted

lfroen (profile) says:

US govt. wants to keep control

Yea, really no surprises here. Seeing internet as essential communication channel I see no reason why US will give up control.
All this “freedom of …” discussion have nothing to do here, given recent domain seizures.
On the other hands, if ITU manages phone country codes, I see no reason why it can’t manage DNS database either. At least US DOJ won’t “seize” domains over stupid copyright claims.

lfroen (profile) says:

Re: Re: US govt. wants to keep control

Um, no. Only from US-is-the-center-of-the-universe perspective.
Explain, how exactly the fact that US DOJ can hijack .com domains is a good thing?
Saudi Arabia/Iran/China/whoever want to sensor their net – let them.
If you’re afraid that they will block – there’s obvious solution for that. How about Google register instead?

lfroen (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 US govt. wants to keep control

What the hell do you mean “shouldn’t be controlled and regulated”? Even lamp on my desk right now is “controlled and regulated” (by me). So, who’s going to ensure core routers talk correctly to each other? Some mystical “everyone”?
If you’re about to promote some dystopian anarchist-like government, my answer to you “go f..g away, nutjob”.

On the other hand, “belong to everyone” usually mean “controlled by local government”, since it’s government’s job to speak for everyone, no matter what kind of government we’re talking about.
So, since UN mission (at least in theory) is to promote inter-government cooperation, I see no big deal here. Politics as usual, US being a bully and so on.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 US govt. wants to keep control

How about keeping it in the hands of the individuals who understand the technology, rather then beurocrats who have to rely on their aides to give them something that is relavant to the thing being discussed, and on top of that watered down so a non tech can understand it, will the report end up being the same, or will there be subtle changes that completly misinterpret what the tech guy was trying to say……no, why go through that, when the tech guy already understands it…..what we need is more tech guys in our governing bodies, who also put the best interest of the people first, rather then politics

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 US govt. wants to keep control

So, since UN mission (at least in theory) is to promote inter-government cooperation, I see no big deal here.

The big deal is in two parts. The first part is that there is no need for “inter-governmental cooperation” here at all. What is the problem being solved? This is governments stepping in without any reason to do so.

The second part is that what is being discussed has very serious implications on internet freedom. Standardizing and endorsing spying and so forth.

No good can come of this (since there is no problem to be solved) and a lot of bad could result. That’s the big deal.

Anonymous Coward says:

What better place to discuss limiting the rights of others than Dubai. The ITU has outlived their usefulness and needs to disappear into the sunset. These folks have little understanding of that which they wish to regulate and yet they seem to think everyone should listen to what they have to say. Has a certain familiar ring to it.

Chilly8 says:

I think this all comes down to laws like SOPA and PIPA. If the USA loses internet governence, then that makes SOPA, PIPA, TPP, and the like effectively moot, if the USA cannot shut down “pirate” sites.

So this is a double-edged sword. While the ITU proposals may be bad, the bright side is that it would be all but impossible to the USA to seize domains.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’d rather we not have to go gathering people everytime our respective governments do things we dont agree with……we’ll end up having to meetup every month

Would rather work to change the system to stop them making laws and regulations that forces us to oppose it, beccause like it or not, they will wise up, and only put the most subtle of phrases on a “good” bill, after many intentional bad bills, if you pay attention, THIS is what politics means to most of them, you have to look long and hard for those who learn from history for the benifit of the people they share this world with

TimK (profile) says:

There’s really nothing the UN or ITU can do if the US says NO. What can they do? They can’t take the internet. The appropriate response is a simple “no, and if you don’t like it go build your own internet.”

What is the UN going to do, try to pass a toothless resolution against the US? Ha! UN resolutions are a joke, and only the US and EU can do anything to enforce them. The US and EU are already opposed to this, and the US, France and UK have veto power anyway. What a waste of time this is, even for the waste of time UN.

Not an Electronic Rodent (profile) says:

Re: Re:

There’s really nothing the UN or ITU can do if the US says NO. What can they do?

Much though I detest with every fibre of my being the idea of the ITU being “in charge” of the internet, it’s quotes like this that make me wonder if the inevitable cluster-f*ck that would ensue would be better than the current situation with the US as de-facto “chief” of the internet by dint of being the biggest bully in the playground. Most times you see a US politician in a global debate, they sound very much like you did there.

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