House to examine plan for United Nations to regulate the Internet

May 28, 2012

ITU Headquarters in Geneva (credit: Alexander Mayrhofer/Wikimedia Commons)

House lawmakers will consider an international proposal next week to give the United Nations more control over the Internet, Hillicon Valley reports.

The proposal is backed by China, Russia, Brazil, India and other UN members, and would give the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) more control over the governance of the Internet.

It’s an unpopular idea with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in Congress, and officials with the Obama administration have also criticized it.

Larry Strickling, the head of the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, said the measure would expose the Internet to “top-down regulation where it’s really the governments that are at the table, but the rest of the stakeholders aren’t.”

At a hearing earlier this month, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also criticized the proposal. He said China and Russia are “not exactly bastions of Internet freedom.”

“Any place that bans certain terms from search should not be a leader in international Internet regulatory frameworks,” he said, adding that he will keep a close eye on the process.