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US House Votes 397-0 To Oppose UN Control of the Internet 297

Posted by Soulskill
from the free-sandwich-with-every-vote dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The U.S. House of Representatives voted 397-0 today on a resolution to oppose U.N. control of the internet. 'The 397-0 vote is meant to send a signal to countries meeting at a U.N. conference on telecommunications this week. Participants are meeting to update an international telecom treaty, but critics warn that many countries' proposals could allow U.N. regulation of the Internet.' The European Parliament passed a similar resolution a couple weeks ago, and the U.N. telecom chief has gone on record saying that freedom on the internet won't be curbed. However, that wasn't enough for U.S. lawmakers, who were quite proud of themselves for actually getting bipartisan support for the resolution (PDF). Rep Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said, 'We need to send a strong message to the world that the Internet has thrived under a decentralized, bottom-up, multi-stakeholder governance model.'"
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US House Votes 397-0 To Oppose UN Control of the Internet

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  • by wierd_w (1375923) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @06:37PM (#42197447)

    *shudder*

    What you really mean is that US politicians unanimously voted that they should have absolute control over enacting draconian restrictions on the global internet, and that those "european commies" should have any say involving red blooded american technologies and interests, and that the rhetoric about bottom up, decentralized administration is merely a red herring to keep those watchdogs distracted while they aid the henhouse.

    (Spasm)

    Sorry. I don't know what came over me there. Have you seen Aldus Huxley anywhere? I think I need my daily opiate injection...

  • What a shock! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sydin (2598829) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @06:39PM (#42197483)
    An organization with an unlimited power has made a decision to keep that power, rather than parse out and distribute it to others. I've never heard anything so crazy before in my life.
  • by amiga3D (567632) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @06:41PM (#42197505)

    You do understand that the House Democrats also supported this bill? It's not neccessarily just about hating the UN. Although I think the UN mostly sucks.

  • by Jetra (2622687) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @06:42PM (#42197521)
    Everyone knows that the U.S.wants to control everything. I mean, an internet controlled by all nations? Preposterous!
  • by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @06:44PM (#42197553) Homepage

    If only they would do this for their own attempts to regulate the Internet (think SOPA, PIPA and DMCA), the Internet would be much better off than it is today.

  • by The Master Control P (655590) <<ejkeever> <at> <nerdshack.com>> on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @06:47PM (#42197597)
    The Internet has done fine under ICANN.

    Look at those who want to take control away from ICANN and look at their histories regarding censorship and ask whether you should by default assume things will get better or worse under the ITU.
  • by TwezerFace (2788771) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @06:50PM (#42197649)
    The UN has done nothing to stop 30,000 innocents from being slaughtered in Syria. they can't be trusted to run the net.
  • by wierd_w (1375923) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @06:51PM (#42197687)

    Indeed. There is nothing to be done about china being stupid with regard to the internet, and that is as it should be. The free internet will just ignore china.

    However, any appeals made by OUR congress critters concerning "free, open, decentralized control" is really just doubletalk for "controlled by our hedgemony of media and telecom interests, with no oversight."

    Really, "free and decentralized", in regard to the way the internet was concieved, is that there is no distincton between clients and servers, and that ISPs are mere dumb pipes.

    That is *NOT* what these lieing dirtbags have in mind.

  • Free speech (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fyngyrz (762201) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @06:53PM (#42197713) Homepage Journal

    On the other hand, it might be the beginning of problems for people who show disrespect to religion. There are some really poorly reasoned attitudes and legislation towards free speech outside the USA. I'm not saying we're perfect, but we are better, at least in that regard.

  • by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @06:53PM (#42197715) Homepage

    "... it is essential that the Internet remain stable, secure, and free from government control" -- 112th United States Congress.

    Lets see if they abide by this once the next round of Internet-specific legislation comes along.

  • by raydobbs (99133) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @06:57PM (#42197763) Homepage Journal

    The UN has gotten a really bad reputation lately due to the pandering to groups that outright hate the United States. However, the US is called upon to be the world's police force, ambulance, piggy bank, and shoulder to cry on; but the US is denied the ability to have an appropriate role in the UN in exchange for these services. Instead, we have China and the Sudan on the human rights counsel, we hear about considerable corruption and abuses of UN power. The US brings these injustices up, all of a sudden - the US is reminded of all these back fees and membership dues that they supposedly owe. Never mind that without the US, the UN would have no teeth to accomplish anything. This is not to belittle the good things the UN HAS accomplished - but the United States does get tired of being treated like the scapegoat for all the world's problems.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @06:57PM (#42197769)

    . . . flying over the ITU meeting in Dubai.

    That'll show 'em!

    The ITU failed at their own attempt at creating an Internet, with ISO OSI and X.400 crap, so I can't think of anyone more qualified to totally screw up the Internet.

  • by colin_faber (1083673) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @06:59PM (#42197811)

    Yes this is true, however countries such as Iran, China, etc. shut off entire parts of the internet 'without justification'.

    Do you really want to have an internet controlled by entities which care more about power than freedom? I understand you could argue the same about the U.S. however history has proven those arguments to be false.

  • by rst123 (2440064) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @07:00PM (#42197821)

    So you are saying that because it's not perfect under the current system, it couldn't get worse? The US at least trys/pretends to respect free speech, human rights, rule of law, etc. Some of these countries don't even bother to do that.

  • by iluvcapra (782887) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @07:02PM (#42197849)

    Decisions made by the UN are enforced on member nations.

    How?

  • by jfengel (409917) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @07:02PM (#42197857) Homepage Journal

    Bonus: they didn't actually do anything. This is a "resolution", not a law. It has no effect. It doesn't even give any official directions to the US representative to the ITU, who (duh) had absolutely no intention of voting for any such thing anyway.

    Whenever you get universal support for anything in Congress, it's because it isn't anything. Bipartisan support for doing nothing is very popular. So is bipartisan support for empty gestures. Eking out even so much as a bare majority along anything other than party lines, for some measure that actually does something, is a herculean task.

  • by TwezerFace (2788771) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @07:12PM (#42197965)
    keep it as it is... The UN does nothing in Syria, Sudan, Darfur,...hundreds of thousands have died under their watch... Oh, if Israel does the littllest thing...crisis, referendum....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @07:12PM (#42197967)

    Do you really want to have an internet controlled by entities which care more about power than freedom? I understand you could argue the same about the U.S. however history has proven those arguments to be false.

    No, it hasn't. Remember Kim Dotcom? And please stop with the freedom bullshit. You could argue some countries defend freedom, but the US is not one of them.

    An UN-controlled Internet has the advantage of anything proposed by China being opposed by the US, anything proposed by the US being opposed by China. With any luck nobody will be able to do too much damage.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @07:23PM (#42198095)

    Let me see, your problem is the UN is not powerful and effective enough, that it needs to be more interventionist?

    Mmkay.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @07:24PM (#42198121)

    I do not want an Internet controlled by anyone with a history of repressing freedom of speech. Sure you can make an argument that the US has restricted Free speech in the past. I can make a much MUCH stronger argument that places like China, or most Muslim countries should not be allowed a say in what goes on.

    You give those guys control, and half the Internet would be gone. So my answer is "No" and if you do not like it, feel free to create your own Internet. It is our ball, and as far as I am concerned we can stop playing with you and take our ball home. What the other choice? Let you guys destroy the ball cause it said something about your prophet?

  • by Hartree (191324) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @07:27PM (#42198145)

    Nov. 23, Slashdot largely approves when the EU makes a similar statement opposing ITU control.
      http://tech.slashdot.org/story/12/11/23/0122212/eu-passes-resolution-against-itu-asserting-control-over-internet [slashdot.org]

    Two days ago, a submission points out differences in the words and actions of the ITU and its Secretary General (including a plan to try to undercut any opposition via flooding social media) and most who reply are quite skeptical of the ITU.

    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/12/03/2120250/internet-freedom-wont-be-controlled-says-un-telcom-chief [slashdot.org]

    Today, the House votes unanimously to say largely the same thing as the EU. The reaction on slashdot? Outrage at the horrible undercutting of freedom, the ITU and the UN in particular.

    Truly who says something counts far more here than what is said.

    This is hysterical.

  • by mikeiver1 (1630021) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @07:32PM (#42198193)
    The UN didn't develop the internet, the United States of America's DARPA, research colleges, and major corporations did. The UN doesn't support the vast majority of research and development of future technologies aimed at bettering the internet. Like it or not, the United States of America is one of, if not the most, open societies in the world. Few if any other nations protect free speech to the degree that we do. The internet is open and generally unregulated and that is the way it should, has to, stay this way or we end up like iran or another totalitarian state like north korea. The UN thinks that they have a mandate to regulate everything under the sun, they don't. When they pay for their own version of their very own internet then they can. But until that time, FUCK OFF UNITED NATIONS AND ALL YOU COCK KNOCKERS THAT THINK THEY SHOULD!!!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @07:35PM (#42198217)

    So you don't remember the US seizing all those domains right before Black Friday? Not just this year, but last year too.

  • by Rockoon (1252108) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @07:38PM (#42198237)
    Sounds great until the U.S. and China agree on the singular premise "fuck the people" and then they point the fingers at each other while sticking it in you.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @07:47PM (#42198323)

    Ugh. Giving those countries a legitimate pulpit to shout for additional repressive controls that would only exist in addition to existing international law is not going to make things better than they are today. It's the ticket to more government tampering, regulation, and censorship, not less.

    In the future, if you find yourself at complete odds with Vint Cerf on subjects of Internet governance, stop and rethink your position for a minute. Well, unless you're in Iran and someone will stone you for it.

  • by mellon (7048) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @08:08PM (#42198515) Homepage

    I think there are a lot of reasons why "the U.S." opposes it; the one you gave is certainly an example. I'm sure that numerous congresscritters voted against it for just the reason you've stated. I'm sure others voted against it for other reasons.

    One good reason? The ITU's *first* document out of the current meeting—the one they considered *most* important—was a HOWTO on deep packet inspection for repressive and privacy-violating governments. I'm bracing myself for the encore...

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @08:51PM (#42198907) Journal

    Ideally it shouldn't be controlled by anyone, but I'll take the US over an organization with a membership that includes such icons of online freedom as Iran and china.

  • by quantaman (517394) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @08:55PM (#42198941)

    The UN has gotten a really bad reputation lately due to the pandering to groups that outright hate the United States.

    Say the UN didn't let Chavez to stand up and and insult the US for a few minutes, would that make him a nice guy? Probably not, more likely he'll just become more isolated, and a bunch of Americans will forget that there's countries like his that really don't like the US. Think of the UN General Assembly as the worlds cafeteria, there's a lot of nonsense going on (like the human rights council), but it gives you a decent overview of how everyone gets along and what they're thinking.

    However, the US is called upon to be the world's police force, ambulance, piggy bank, and shoulder to cry on; but the US is denied the ability to have an appropriate role in the UN in exchange for these services.

    Well no one actually asked the US to be the world's police force, you just sort of... volunteered. BTW, what would you consider an appropriate role? You already have a seat on the security council and an absurd amount of influence.

    Never mind that without the US, the UN would have no teeth to accomplish anything. This is not to belittle the good things the UN HAS accomplished - but the United States does get tired of being treated like the scapegoat for all the world's problems.

    So here's the deal with the US military. It's really, really, big (about half the world's total budget). It's not really required for UN peacekeeping, other western nations have strong militaries, but the US has such a big military they might as well use it.

    Now you'll make the argument that we should all be thankful that the US spends so much to keep the rest of the civilized world safe and let us spend less on our own militaries, and that might have been true at the height of the cold war, but not so much anymore.

    You don't spend so much on your military to protect us, you do it so you can exercise your power unilaterally. So you can invade Afghanistan in response to 9/11 and everyone jumps on board. So you can invade Iraq and even though everyone else knows it's a bad idea and we don't want it to happen, we can't really stop it (how many other nations could pull that off?).

    We'd actually prefer you cut your military budget a bunch, let us pick up the slack if there was any, and you cab think a little longer before going to war.

  • by m0nkyman (7101) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @08:59PM (#42198987) Homepage Journal

    Yup. When farmers and hens both vote against the fox guarding the henhouse, they have very different reasons.

  • by Nostromo21 (1947840) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @09:01PM (#42199001)

    Which is why we need a decentralised, secure DNS model. 5 years ago.

    I would like to see ICANN lose control as they've proven utterly untrustworthy, incompetent & are now just money-grubbing in general.
    Though I wouldn't want the Urinated Nations from seizing control, at least until that term means something. Far better to deal with poisoned DNS entries & hash tables than continue this way. The Internet may have started with the US military as the 'wild west', but it's now gone backwards to being a politician's bitch, and more gubments having control over it is actually a huge leap backwards for mankind.
    </soapbox>

  • by The Master Control P (655590) <<ejkeever> <at> <nerdshack.com>> on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @11:26PM (#42200123)
    You mean the ones that were selling physical counterfeit merchandise? How very evil of them.

    i_dont_have_a_problem_with_this.jpg
  • by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @12:31AM (#42200593)

    The incident with Kim Dotcom can happen regardless of who ICANN/IANA answer to, UN or otherwise. It mainly happened due to treaty and trade agreements as well as strong arm tactics that preceded the internet, and don't require its existence to work.

    Other countries seize domain names as well, not just the US. He had a .com TLD, the US government controls those. The US can seize those just as any other country can seize its own TLD registrations, again regardless of who controls ICANN. Notice how thepiratebay.org moved to .se. The US doesn't have any authority to seize those.

    As for his physical equipment and the police raids, those happened through diplomatic arrangements and agreements, not through the authority of ICANN or any domain registration authority.

  • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @03:28AM (#42201371)

    This. And the distinction is very important here.

    The World Wide Web, which is what was created at CERN, is only governed inasmuch as it is part of the Internet, and while the Internet wouldn't be the same without it, the Internet could exist without it. If the point of mentioning CERN was to imply that the UN has demonstrated it can handle governing the Internet, I'd suggest that it does no such thing, since there's a vast difference between developing a technology (the Web) for a platform that is entirely out of your control (the Internet) and actually governing that platform. It'd be like saying that Zynga (maker of Farmville) is qualified to take over Facebook or Rovio (maker of Angry Birds) is qualified to take over Android and iOS.

    Or, to shoehorn in a car analogy and look at a different aspect of this, suggesting that CERN is responsible for developing the Internet would be roughly equivalent to suggesting that Ford was responsible for inventing the vehicle. What he actually did was popularize one particular form of transportation by making it more accessible to the masses, which is quite similar to what we saw take place with the Web (kinda...if you squint and tilt your head...I said I was shoehorning this in, so give me some leeway). But just as vehicles predated Ford's cars and come in a wider variety than what he made (e.g. planes, trains, and automobiles), so too did the Internet predate the Web and encompass much more. And it's what's at stake here.

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